About the Orchestra
The Broward Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1966 by conductor Jimmy Woodle as the Broward Community College Orchestra, under the sponsorship of Broward Community College. With a roster of 35 musicians from the College and the community, the Orchestra performed two concerts in the Broward Community College Lecture Theatre during its first year of operation.
By 1969, the organization had grown to 50 members and was renamed the Broward Symphony Orchestra. The Annual Concerto Competition was established and concerts were held in local high schools and civic auditoriums and amphitheatres, as well as the Broward Community College Lecture Theatre, Hospitality Center and the Gymnasium. During these formative years, local guest artists were utilized, and in 1975 the Annual "Pops" Concert was established and was a tradition for many years to follow.
By 1977 the Broward Symphony Orchestra had grown to 85 members, and concerts in the gymnasium brought capacity audiences, with the appearance of international guest artists such as Eileen Farrell, Gordon MacRae, and Elmar Olivera.
The Broward Symphony proudly continued its series in 1981 performing in the Ralph R. Bailey Concert Hall, bringing capacity audiences with such guest artists as Earl Wild, Janos Starker, Lorin Hollander, "Doc" Severinsen, Jerome Lowenthal, Horatio Gutierrez, Della Reese, Eugene Fodor, and Susan Stark. The orchestra also performed in other venues, including the Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach, Florida.
After the 1983-1984 concert season, conductor Jimmy Woodle departed. An orchestra committee was formed, and talented conductors were chosen to perform each of the 6 concerts for the following season. At the end of the season, the committee and the orchestra unanimously approved Maestro Lawrence Siegel. Maestro Siegel was also the conductor of the North Miami Beach Symphony and was former conductor of the Philippine Opera of Manila.
Over the course of the next few years, the Broward Symphony Orchestra altered its program to give greater opportunity to local guest artists and to improve orchestral quality, in partnership with the North Miami Beach Symphony Orchestra. Artists and concert programs would be duplicated with both symphonies and held back-to-back at Bailey Hall and the North Miami Beach Civic Auditorium. Significant programs included a performance of Mozart: Requiem, and Beethoven: Symphony #9 on the same evenings, performed with the Miami Oratorio Society and the Cayman Islands National Choir, and a performance of Mahler: Symphony #1. Concert performances of many operas, with local and international guest artists, were also featured.
At the end of the 1990 season, Broward Community College decided to change the mission of the orchestra to one more in keeping with the mission of the College. The College hired Jack Covell, conductor of the Dillard Performing Arts School as the symphony's new conductor, and to accent the participation of promising young students with the existing community members.
The orchestra has been developing greater musical quality and forwarding its educational mission under the baton of Wendell Simmons, Glenn Quader, Michael Garasi, Dr. Charles Chen, Dr. Michelle Michaelis, Dr. Jack Roller, David Bebe, Michael Scherperel, Dr. Christopher Cicconi, Dr. Zoe Zeniodi, Dr. Rufus Jones, Brett Karlin and currently with the talented leadership of Terence Kirchgessner.
Contributed by Stuart C. Wardlaw
Orchestra member, Cello
1977 - present