About us

Our Mission

The mission of the Manchester Symphony and Chorale (MSOC) is to:

  1. Promote the performance of quality orchestral and choral music on a non-profit basis;
  2. Enhance the enjoyment and enrichment of its members;
  3. Contribute to the furtherance of the performing arts in the community; and
  4. Serve as an educational force in the Town of Manchester and surrounding areas, especially for young instrumentalists and singers.

Our organizational structure

Manchester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale, based in Manchester, Connecticut, is a community-based arts organization governed by a board of directors with elected officers. We were incorporated in 1979 as a non-profit, tax exempt organization pursuant to Section 501(c) (3) of the IRS code. Our board meets on the fourth Tuesday of every month. Read our bylaws and our membership handbook.

Our History

“So come on, Ma! Dig that box out of the attic, have the sound post set up again, stick some strings on it, wash the bow-hair and drop me a line.”

That was the call to instruments sent out via the columns of the Manchester Evening Herald in the summer of 1960. It came from John Gruber, Herald columnist and former piano soloist with the Boston Symphony. He was convinced that an orchestra was just what Manchester needed, and he must have been right. Today, the Manchester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale is very proud of its more than 50 years of continuous performances.

MSOC is a volunteer organization made up of professional and non-professional musicians from all walks of life. The orchestra and chorale directors, concertmaster, and chorale accompanist are the only paid musicians. Yet the dedication is the same from all the participants.

Begun as an outlet for townspeople who had once achieved a degree of musical proficiency, but had let that proficiency slip in the course of everyday living, the orchestra has since grown into an institution that serves not only its members, but also the entire community.

Dr. Francis W. Helfrick was a co-founder of MSOC. An accomplished trombone player and well-known pediatrician, Dr. Helfrick led fundraising efforts that made the organization viable.

John Gruber continued to lead this fledgling orchestra for three years. In 1963, Vytautas Marijosius, a faculty member at Hartt College, served as Musical Director and Conductor for five years. Dr. Jack Heller, an accomplished violinist and faculty member at the University of Connecticut, continued in the position for the next 16 years.

Over the next 16 years the organization has had some outstanding musical directors, including Paul Phillips, David Clyle Morse, Tibor Pusztai, Neely Bruce, Per Brevig, Mark Bailey, Kevin Mack, Lewis J. Buckley and Joseph Hodge.

Sixty musicians arrived for the first rehearsal in September 1960; in 1966 a choral group was formed. Some members of the orchestra have gone on to distinguished professional careers in music. The first concertmaster, for example, competed in Moscow’s Tchaikovsky competition in 1962. One young man, who made his orchestra debut at the age of 11 in Manchester in 1977, continues to play with some of the world’s great orchestras.

The Manchester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale would like to say thank you to the many businesses and individuals who have supported it all these years. Because of you, all of us have enjoyed the fruits of a long, long labor of love.