Before NWCSO entered the scene in 2021, our region was dominated by the Thayer Symphony Orchestra founded by Atlantic Union College by Dr. John Robertson in 1974. In 1983, Maestro Toshimasa Francis Wada became the third director in its history and at that time the orchestra was based in Leominster. The Thayer Symphony Orchestra moved their performance space in the early 2000s when the Dukakis Center at Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School was built – an 1100-seat auditorium with much-needed space for the symphony and other performing arts groups. Thayer dominated the classical music scene in the area for 42 seasons performing all over the region.
In 2016, the board of directors of the orchestra decided to rebrand itself and became The New England Symphony Orchestra. Upon the retirement of Maestro Wada, the orchestra recognized it needed to grow further and broaden its audience as well as hire a new music director. Currently, the orchestra performs in Massachusetts and provides programs of education and enrichment to the lives of many. The orchestra is now the Worcester Symphony Orchestra and currently makes its performance home in Worcester. The evolution of this orchestra paved the way for a new organization to come in and be able to build upon the tradition of having a regional orchestra located in North Worcester County.
Entering into the symphonic classical music scene in 2021 was the North Worcester County Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra was founded on the principles of access to classical, pop, jazz, musical theatre, and other genres of music to culturally enrich the lives of the Twin City area and the region that surrounds it. The principal goal of the organization is to make this music accessible to everyone at an affordable cost. We believe that everyone, child or adult should be exposed to and enriched by the volumes of music that have been created by bold composers of the past and new and emerging artists.
Out of his love for music, executive director Michael Hoffmann, contacted Jared Bloch, an up-and-coming conductor and ensembles teacher at Wachusett Regional High School. Together they collaborated to bring together a group of musicians to form a new entity. In December of 2021, with the blessing of Mayor Dean Mazzarella, the orchestra made its home in the Tata Auditorium located in City Hall. The orchestra has gone on to have a successful season, even collaborating with the rock band Perfect Alibi for its inaugural concert. The spring of 2022 brought forth an evening of excitement as we presented the works of Gershwin including his famous Rhapsody in Blue. Now as an established group, we have begun to build on audience development and fundraising. The orchestra took a brief hiatus in the fall of 2022 to regroup and decide how to move forward in 2023.
Originally a part of StageWorks Inc., in 2022 the orchestra made a mutual decision with StageWorks to become its own nonprofit entity and registered with the Commonwealth Of Massachusetts as a nonprofit corporation in January. NWCSO is tax-exempt under IRS code of Section 501 (c)(3) and registered as a public charity in the Commonwealth.