Founded in 1943, The Toledo Symphony Orchestra performs approximately 220 concerts from September to June each year. And through its “TSO in Your Neighborhood” program, it performs at churches, community centers, performing arts centers, and retirement homes across the region, from Greenville, Ohio, to Temperance, Michigan. In total, TSO programs reach about 260,000 people a year, says Zak Vassar, president and CEO of TSO.
This year, that reach is expanding, as TSO has effectively merged with the Toledo Ballet.
“This joins our educational mission with theirs,” Vassar says. “Now we have the opportunity to inspire the operations of both the music and dance academies. There are a lot of things that can synergize with having performing arts under the same roof.”
Striking a chord with the next generation
TSO is about more than just making music; it’s about training the next generation of musicians and sharing that talent with the community.
TSO took over the Toledo Youth Orchestra in 2008 when the Toledo School District no longer had the funding to support it. The program has since grown to include three youth orchestras, and TSO has also opened a music school where its musicians provide instruction.
“We’ve made education a core of our operations,” says Vassar.
The organization’s goal is not just to make the best student musicians even better, but about finding students with a passion and giving them the resources and community to succeed.
“We give students the chance to work hard on something and gain a lot of confidence from work well done in achieving something,” Vassar says. “It also has the ancillary benefits of teamwork and aptitude. Music is beautiful and uplifting and brings people together. It’s a great departure from the rest of the world.”
The Toledo Symphony Orchestra works closely with local businesses in the community to provide the services it does. In addition to the banking relationship, Huntington has underwritten events that bring the community together, such as a performance of renowned violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman playing the music of film composer John Williams with the orchestra at the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle.
“It’s a great moment for the community to share a success, to have all those musical inputs and share a moment together and feel the roar of the crowd,” Vassar says. “Huntington has given us a wonderful win. Their support has been so focal to making our community stronger.”
About the organization
Name: Toledo Symphony Orchestra
Phone: (419) 246-8000
Mission: Delivering quality performance and music education for all
How you can help
Go to toledosymphony.com/donate to contribute to TSO’s annual fund or make a donation as a memorial or tribute.