July 23, 2016

About OPSO


The Orchard Park Symphony Orchestra was founded sixty-nine years ago by eight musicians in the living room of Parl Brooks’ home on Clark Street in Orchard Park. With the assistance of the Orchard Park Central School District’s community education program, the embryonic orchestra retained its first conductor, Joesph Wincenc. The first concert featured Betty Smith as its first solo artist performing the second movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 12 in A Major.  A half century later, the 50th season opened under the direction of Dr. David Rudge and continues to have the support of the Orchard Park Central School District with the use of the Joseph Wincenc auditorium at the middle school for rehearsals and the use of the High School auditorium for concerts. Dr. Rudge continues to develop the Orchestra’s musical ability and over the past 19 years has enhanced the Orchestra’s tradition of exceptional quality, both in its musicianship and the solo artists, such as Cathy Cho, Peter Stumpf, Jeremy Denk, Carol Wincenc, Mark O’Conner, Eduardus Halim, Simon Boyar, Claudia Hoca, Rachel
Lee and Simon Mulligan.


Dr. David Rudge, Director of Orchestras and Opera at the State University of New York at Fredonia, and Music Director of the Orchard Park Symphony Orchestra, has conducted orchestras on five continents to critical acclaim. As Director of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Guatemala he was credited with the dramatic rebirth of that orchestra. Described as “dynamic” and “electric,” Guatemala’s Prensa Libre wrote “it has been many years since we have heard a symphony orchestra play with such inspiration.”

Dr. Rudge founded the Eastminster Chamber Orchestra, and was Assistant Conductor of the University of South Carolina Symphony Orchestra, the Columbia Lyric Opera and Ballet, and the South Carolina Philharmonic. During that time he was noted for his “Bernstein-like intensity” The State, Columbia, SC. He was chosen several times to prepare the Beethoven Chamber Orchestra for the International Workshop for Conductors in ZlÌn, Czech Republic. He has guest conducted the West Bohemian Symphony Orchestra in Mariánské Lázne, CR, and, as a two time winner of the International Opera Conductors’ Competition, he was invited to conduct a complete production at the Silesian State Opera in the Czech Republic, and to lead the Vratza Philharmonic in Bulgaria. In 1996, as an Artistic Ambassador for the State Department, he spent two months in Damascus, Syria conducting the National Symphony and Chamber Orchestra. He has conducted the Opera and Orchestra at the Rome Festival, Italy, and has guest conducted the Dialecto Urbano Chorus, Caracas, Venezuela, the Giurgiu Philharmonic (Romania), the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, the Western New York Chamber Orchestra, the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra Society of Philadelphia, the North Carolina Governor’s School Orchestra, the Poughkeepsie Chamber Orchestra, and the Southern Tier Symphony. Dr. Rudge has worked with some of today’s finest soloists, including Jeremy Denk, David Kim, Larry Combs, Carol Wincenc, Jeffrey Khaner, Gail Williams, Elizabeth Hainen, Jean-Luc Ponty, Mark O’Connor and Yo Yo Ma. Dr. Rudge was awarded a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship to conduct in the Middle East. As a Senior Fellow, he spent many months in Egypt conducting the Cairo Opera Orchestra, the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, and the Cairo Opera Chorus, and teaching at the National Conservatoire of Music. The Cairo press called him “a proper maestro. . . grandly expressive.”

Dr. Rudge, whose wide repertoire includes over 20 operas, has studied conducting at the Dartington School, England, the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Pierre Monteux School, the Aspen Music School, the National Conservatory of Romania, and the Conductors Institute with Donald Portnoy and Harold Farberman. He also worked with such notables as Charles Bruck, Max Rudolf, Gunther Schuller, and Maurice Abravanel. He has played as both a violinist and violist with a number of orchestras and chamber ensembles both at home and abroad. He has also pursued baroque performance practice, as both a violinist and conductor, with the directors and members of the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra.

Dr. Rudge has given numerous classes in conducting and violin internationally, and has been coach and guest conductor of the Boston, Columbia, Houston and Costa Rican Youth Symphonies, as well as many student honor-orchestras, such as the New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois All-State Orchestras. He was a faculty member at the Conductor’s Institute at Bard, and at the National ASTA Conference. He is a Lead Teacher and member of the Board of Directors for Music for People, and teaches Free-Improvisation at the School of Music in Fredonia, where he founded the Improv. Collective, a unique performing group dedicated to free improvisation for self-expression. His other interests are and travel, photography, ceramics and tai chi.

Executive Board

Barney Colón – President
Peg Beyer – Past President
David Rood – Assistant Treasurer
Doug Ward – Vice President
Joan Litwin – Vice President
Nan Ackerman – Vice President
Rick Wolney – Treasurer
Catherine Nagel – General Counsel

Board Members

Al Sager
Ann Thea Beck
Catherine Nagel
Don Carduci
Elaine Rappold
Emilie Beecher
Gail Marcin
Jason Majchrzak
Jillian Beyer
JoAnn Litwin-Clinton
Lora Sambora
Lynn O’Conner
Matthew McGarrity
Maureen Thiel
Meri Beth Jones
Michael Anton Sciortino
Paul Furlong
Roseann Deni
Stan Hooper


James Ieda Nicole McPherson Eric Jeffers
Randy Cole Dorea Holmes Collin Folger
Susan Carlton Ed Katz
Linda Ward PICCOLO
Merry Jeffers Gabrielle Moore
Denise Uhlman TIMPANI
Jillian Beyer OBOE Molly Williams
Sally Schaefer Brenda Small
Carl Lam Laura Buechi HARP
Sharon Valites Cristin Kalinowski
VIOLIN II  Laura Buechi
Barney Colón GUITAR
Vivian Johnston CLARINET Michael Kankiewicz
Linda Dansa Charles Vara
Michael Anton Sciortino Elaine Rappold
Lora Sambora
Maria Czechowski BASSOON
Emily Pavelski Paul Furlong
Lora Sambora Douglas Ward
VIOLA    Larry Deni
Amy Kelly Kara Mayer
Andrea Haas Nathan Barnes
George Herbert
Annette Ieda FRENCH HORN
Codi Bartolucci Michael Ruesch
Dennis Lell Ann Furlong
Julie Robinson
Nan Cobb
CELLO    Mike Robertson
Lynne Ruda
Margaret Beyer TROMBONE
Nanci Bailey Peter Karda
John Bailey Peter Blackwell
Alicia Herbert William Haile
Ann Beck
Ben Rood
Emily Finlan
BASS Fred Lenz
Colin O’Donnell
Teresa Nojaim