Butler County Symphony Orchestra
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Permission to use granted by: Harry Savisky
The Butler Orchestral Association was established in 1949, with the
first board of directors meeting on December 15. The organization was
cosponsored by the Butler Tuesday Musical Club, the Butler Board of
Recreation and the Butler Musical Society. I.M. Jaffe was elected the
To enlist community interest and financial support, the association
held an invitation rehearsal on February 5, 1950. About 200 people
attended. Pittsburgh musicians joined the group to provide balanced
The premier concert was held on April 17, 1950, with Edward Roncone as
the first conductor. This was also the opening concert of Butler
County's Sesquicentennial celebration. The concert was greeted with
The name of the organization was later changed to the Butler County
Symphony Association. In each season, the Association sponsors six
concerts, one of which is a Family Concert geared to all ages. The
orchestra has gained in stature over the years and is now considered
one of the finest community orchestras in the western Pennsylvania area.
Today, the Butler County Symphony Association provides a quality
orchestra within a community framework, generating pride among Butler
County residents while enriching their cultural lives.
The six concerts per season showcase music chosen from all periods with
seasonal favorites at the holiday concert. Each concert features a
vocal or instrumental solo performance.
The Association is governed by a fifty-member all volunteer board of
directors. Officers are: President: William Lehnerd, Vice-president:
Gary Kleemann, Secretary: Joanne Glasgow, Treasurer: James Weed.
In addition to overseeing the orchestra in providing quality music
choices from all periods, the Association brings educational programs
to school students, has an annual Young Artist Competition, and
recognizes special students active in their school music programs. The
Association also provides an outlet with the orchestra for solo
performances of many local talented musicians, in addition to allowing
gifted students to rehearse and gain experience playing with
Elisabeth Heath-Charles joined the Butler County Symphony Orchestra as
Musical Director and Conductor in 1997. She received her Bachelor of
Music Education from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro and
earned a Master of Music from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh,
conducting and music education.
In addition to her post with the Butler County Symphony, Mrs.
Heath-Charles is a member of the music education faculty at the Mary
Pappert School of Music at Duquesne University and is the Director of
Athletic Bands. Previously, Mrs. Heath-Charles was the Music Director
and Conductor of the OVations (Ohio Valley) Youth Orchestra in
Wheeling, West Virginia.
Her guest conducting engagements include the University of Northern
Colorado’s Weekend for Strings, the Three Rivers Youth
Pittsburgh Youth Symphony, the Westmoreland Youth Symphony, the
McKeesport Symphony, and the Pittsburgh Civic Symphony. Active as a
and music educator, Mrs. Heath-Charles has conducted many band and
orchestra festivals sponsored by the Music Education Associations of
Pennsylvania and North Carolina. For five years, Mrs. Heath-Charles was
the Musical Director for CaIRep, an eight week, pre-professional
musical theatre repertory company in residence at the California
University of Pennsylvania.
Concerts (See http://www.butlersymphony.org for more information)
February 16, 2008: Spotlight on Joe Negri Trio.
March 15, 2008: Spotlight on a Rising Star.
May 3, 2008: Spotlight on Sax-y Music.
section is intended to be a place for conductors and musicians to share
information on new music they are playing. If
you have something to contribute please email us the information at
include the title, composer/arranger, publisher and a brief description
of the piece. Your description might
include things like difficulty, instrumentation strengths requirements,