Center Stage

Meet The Lima Symphony Orchestra

The History of The Lima Symphony Orchestra

In January 1953, a committee composed of John LaRotunda, Ben Schultz, Dom Trovarelli and Fred Mills organized the Lima Symphony Orchestra. This committee selected Lawrence Burkhalter as the Symphony’s first conductor. The LSO made its debut performance on May 23, 1954, in the Central High School auditorium to an “enthusiastic reception.” William Byrd of Cincinnati led the symphony for the next ten years, during which the LSO developed a regular subscription series of four or five concerts per season, put on an annual production of an opera or operetta, and began annual concerts for school children.

In 1967, Joseph Firszt became Music Director/Conductor, beginning a twenty-nine year tenure with the Orchestra. Under his guidance the Orchestra grew from 50 volunteer musicians to 75 paid musicians presenting a full series of six subscription concerts and several community concerts each year. School programs, master classes and joint sponsorship of the Lima Area Youth Orchestra are some examples of the impact Firszt made with the LSO.

Crafton Beck became Music Director/Conductor after Firszt’s retirement in 1996. During his tenure, Beck has expanded the reach of the Orchestra throughout the West Central region of Ohio. The LSO now presents six subscription concerts, a family concert, two or more Mozart by Candlelight concerts and an annual New Year’s Eve Pops concert.

The Lima Area Youth Orchestra, affiliated with the LSO and the Lima Noon Optimists, is a symphony orchestra comprised of secondary school students from around the Lima area. Its season runs roughly the length of the school year, with one public performance in early April. The Youth Orchestra is currently under the direction of Erin Grim, a teacher at Bath High School. The Youth Orchestra had formerly been conducted by Lloyd Butler, a lecturer and conductor of music at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, and Dr. Edwin L. Williams, former chair of the music department at Ohio Northern, until his death on July 14, 2005.


Audition for the Symphony

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For The Musicians

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For the Chorus

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