The Mason Orchestral Society was organized in 1975 and performed its first concert in June 1976 under the direction of Sandy Gerrish. There were about 16 members in the first orchestra and ages ranged from 7-77. The combined orchestras now have more than 60 members.
The Society is a non-profit organization which brings the enjoyment and teaching of orchestral music to Mason and surrounding communities. We meet weekly throughout the concert season in the Mason Middle School band room, and often hold our concerts in Mason First Church of the Nazarene, South Lansing Christian Church and the Mason High School auditorium.
With the financial support of the community, the Society has been able to,
- organize two community orchestras involving both student and adult musicians,
- operate a string lesson program for all ages,
- accumulate and maintain string instruments for beginning students,
- provide needed scholarship funds for string lessons, and
- provide scholarship funds to students enabling them to pursue other musical endeavors such as private lessons or music camp.
The Ingham County News editorial (May 4, 1977) headline "Congratulations" to the Mason Orchestral Society and directing it to "... keep up the good work" explains the Mason Orchestral Society's year of 1977. Members, students, parents, teachers and orchestra director, resident agent, officers and the community are all to be congratulated for the good work done in 1977. Also all are to be congratulated for the direction and projection into the year 1978.
This congratulatory editorial came after the Orchestra's May Day Concert. It read in part "The society performed to a full house at All Saints Lutheran Church. For those who attended, it was a delightful afternoon, a wonderful way to usher in the month of May. It was a pleasure to see young and old work together to produce beautiful music." Sandra Gerrish conducted the concert and the orchestra performed in spite of several unrehearsed events. Two babies arrived early, placing the Society's teacher, Karen O'Brien and violinist Alane Johnson, on the sideline. The night before the concert, Judy Campbell fell and broke her arm as she was leaving the last rehearsal. Bev Dean was called upon to take her place accompanying the orchestra on the piano.
David Schultz, Mason Symphony Conductor
Dr. David Schultz enjoys a diverse career as a conductor, violist, and composer based in Michigan. Equally at home in front of an orchestra of professionals, amateurs, or students, he has been lauded for his inviting demeanor, efficient rehearsals, and dynamic performances. An advocate for contemporary composers, he has directed and performed several world premieres, and has collaborated with musicians in diverse styles such as jazz, blues, rock, hip hop, bluegrass, Klezmer, classical Arabic, and African drumming. David values music as a means of human connection and transformation, and is passionate about sharing the experience of making music with both performers and audiences alike.Dr. Schultz is the music director and conductor of the Dexter Community Orchestra, the Livingston Symphony Orchestra, and the Jackson Youth Symphony Orchestra. Previous conducting positions include associate conductor of the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, conductor of the Mason Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, and conductor of the contemporary-music ensemble Musique 21 at Michigan State University. As a guest conductor he has worked with high school orchestra programs in Chelsea, Dexter, Jackson, and Okemos, and will appear as a guest conductor with the Mason Symphony Orchestra for the entire 2019-2020 season. In 2019 he was awarded Honorable Mention for the Respighi Prize in Conducting. As a violist, David performs with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra among other orchestras in mid-Michigan. He also performs with the Chelsea Chamber Players, and is a violist and co-founder of the Lansing-based contemporary-music ensemble ConTempus Initiative. As a composer, his original works and arrangements have been performed by the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, Jackson Youth Symphony Orchestra, Livingston Symphony Orchestra, and Northwest Repertory Singers in Tacoma, WA. He has also scored films for Sisbro Studios’s “Riddle Solvers” series, and has arranged for artists such as Laith Al-Saadi and Stephanie Anne Johnson, both finalists on NBC’s “The Voice.” David received his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Orchestral Conducting from Michigan State University, and holds a Master of Music in Viola Performance from Michigan State University, and a Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance from Lawrence University. He has studied music in Vienna, Austria, at the Aspen Music Festival, and has conducted in workshops with the Chamber Orchestra of New York, Boulder Chamber Orchestra, the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, at Bard College, and at the Cabrillo Contemporary Music Festival. His conducting teachers include Leon Gregorian, Raphael Jimenez, Marin Alsop, Gustav Meijer, and Markand Thakar. David lives in Dexter with his wife Emily and their two children, Elinor and Julian.
Dilek Stolarchuk, Music Director and conductor of the Mason Philharmonic