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Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra
One of the most significant developments in the city's artistic life is the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra, which in 1925-26 was placed upon a paid professional basis and presented a season of six subscription and six popular concerts. This splendid organization of 50 men and women, like most orchestras of its kind, grew out of the vision of a few amateur musicians who were willing to give their time and talent that the public might come to a better understanding of great music.
Prior to 1920 the St. Cecilia society had organized a small orchestra. The society asked Ottokar Malek to become director. He agreed to give his services if he were permitted to use the St. Cecilia group as the nucleus for an amateur symphony orchestra.
Early in 1921 Mr. Malek was training 60 enthusiastic musicians and programs of the best music were presented. Upon his death Karl Wecker of Cincinnati was engaged as conductor. Under its present leader the orchestra is acquiring precision and flexibility which reflect many hours of devoted drill and study.
In 1925 the Grand Rapids Symphony society was organized to provide more generous financial support, and to add considerable strength to personnel and equipment. The society's officers are:Charles J. Kindel, president; Mrs. Frederick P. Wilcox and Glenn Cliffe Bainum, vice-presidents; Mrs. Helen Baker Rowe, recording secretary; Leon W. Harrington, treasurer; Mrs. Walter Winchester, historian; Ray C. Sackett, business manager. The directors are the officers and Mrs. Noyes L. Avery, Howard F. Baxter, C.S. Dexter, Emory Gallup, W. A. Greeson, W. A. Jack, the Very Reverend Charles E. Jackson, A.P. Johnson, Mrs. William F. McKnight, Mrs. Huntley Russell, Dr. Henry J. Vandenberg, B.S. Warren, Karl Wecker, the Reverend Alfred W. Wishart, Fred A. Wurzburg. Clay H. Hollister is chairman of the guarantors and Howard F. Baxter of the membership committee.
Transcriber: Ronnie Aungst
Created: 10 December 1999