Our History and Conductors

History

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,

  1. organize two community orchestras involving both student and adult musicians,
  2. operate a string lesson program for all ages,
  3. accumulate and maintain string instruments for beginning students,
  4. provide needed scholarship funds for string lessons, and
  5. 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 Engin Stolarchuk, Music Director and conductor of the Mason Philharmonic

Dr. Dilek Engin Stolarchuk is currently the String Department Chair at the Flint School of Performing Arts in Flint, Michigan, where she also serves as a Violin/Viola instructor. She teaches the Summer Fun with Strings at FSPA since the summer of 2021, and is the conductor of the Mason Philharmonic/Youth Orchestra beginning in Fall 2021. She is an active performer and teacher based in Mid-Michigan. She has been on the contractor faculty at the College of Music at Michigan State University since 2015 during the Summer semester. She has taught at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp since 2016; and the Huron High School Band and Orchestra Camp since 2019, held on the campus of Interlochen Arts Academy in Northern Michigan. She was a guest faculty and conductor at Marshall University, teaching for the String Technique Program. She lives in East Lansing, MI with her lovely husband, bass trombonist Stefan Stolarchuk. Together, they spend their time cooking delicious food and trying to make viola and bass trombone duets a thing. She organized and operates DES Studio a private studio based at the First Christian Church in Lansing, MI and was a founder the World Artist Chamber Series sponsored by TACAM (Turkish-American Cultural Association of Michigan) in 2014.

Dr. Engin hails from Istanbul, Turkey. She earned her B.A. Degree from Istanbul University State Conservatory, studying with Çigdem Altaş Epikmen and Venyamin Varsavsky from 1992 until 2003. She received her MM from Marshall University, where she studied with Dr. Elizabeth Reed Smith from 2006 until 2007. In 2006, she won the Bell and Jackson competition from Marshall University. She earned her Doctoral Music of Art Degree from Michigan State University, partially studying with I-Fu Wang and other string, wind and jazz faculties.

As an orchestral player, she worked with the Cemal Resit Rey Symphony Orchestra as a full time position, one of the largest symphony orchestras in Istanbul, Turkey from 1998 to 2000. In the summer of 2001 and 2002, she won the Mediterranean Young Symphony Orchestra in Aix-En-Provence and performed at many festivals in Marseille, France, Morocco, Spain, and Italy. Dr. Engin Stolarchuk has built a successful performing career and professional teaching experience throughout Turkey, Europe and the United States. Summer 2000, she participated at Ayvalik String and Chamber Music Master Classes with Tatiana Masurenko in Ayvalik, Turkey. In 2001, Dilek performed in Viola Master-class with Rusen Gunes in Istanbul, Turkey and participated at Ascolo- Piceno Festival in Italy. She performed and played on the CD at the Beethoven Music Festival in Bonn, Germany, with solo pianist Fazil Say in 2002. She performed with the Huntington Symphony Orchestra, West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Ohio Valley Symphony Orchestra and South Ohio Light Opera Company in Ohio and West Virginia from 2004 until 2009. She participated in Viola Master-class with Roberto Diaz at MSU in 2010. Dilek performed at the Brevard Summer Festival in 2010 and studied with Scott Rawls, Jennifer Snyder Kozoroz and Maggie Snyder.

As a chamber musician, Dilek performed with the Fontano Trio at Marshall University in 2008. She has performed with the California Guitar Trio as a guest artist since 2007 and played on Andromeda CD in 2009. Dilek has performed with the Ad Libitum Chamber group, MSU Cello Plus ad Internaional Chamber Soloist series since 2010. Dilek is a molto instrumentalist. She was a member of the Solivovitz Klezmer group as violin, violist and hummer dulcimer player between 2010 and 2015. Dilek performed with the Ohio Light Opera Orchestra and chamber groups between 2011 and 2012 as a principal viola. Dilek also played on Jazz-Tinged CD with Charles Ruggiero (composer) and Joseph Lulloff (saxophone) as a violist with Musique 21 at Michigan State University, in 2013. Dilek performed with Ruggero Allifrachini (violin), Randolph Kelly (viola) and MSU performer students at MSU in 2013. Dilek performed and recorded the original 13-player version of Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland, conducted by Kevin Noe by memory in 2014.

Currently, Dr. Engin Stolarchuk performs with Midland, Jackson, Battle Creek, Rochester, Flint, Lansing, Holland, Southwest Michigan, Macomb, Adrian, and Oakland Symphonies in Michigan, and the Toledo Symphony in Ohio during the performance season, as assisting viola principal and section player. She performs with the Praise Band at the First Christion Church in Lansing, MI. She teaches the String Class at the Lansing Catholic High School in Lansing since 2019. Dilek also performs at the Baroque on Beaver Festival, and performs with The Taneycomo Festival orchestras in Missouri as a principal viola and assistant principal viola.