Trevecca Nazarene University

TSO celebrates 20 years

In celebration of 20 years of existence as a completely voluntary community musical ensemble, Trevecca Symphony Orchestra welcomed alumni, friends of the University, and the greater Nashville community to a free classical concert Thursday, March 13 at 7:30 P.M. in Trevecca’s Boone Business Building Convocation Center.

Current orchestra director and founder Dr. Timothy Cierpke honored the 65 current members and past musicians with musical selections chosen for the landmark performance by the musicians themselves: Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man,” Respighi’s “Pines of Rome” and “The Planets” by Gustav Holst. The musicians were also guests of honor at a reception following the event.

Cierpke began the orchestra in 1988 at the urging of then President of the University, Homer Adams.

“I had just come to work at the University and Dr. Adams said that he wanted a string presence on campus,” said Cierpke.

Sara Johnson, orchestra director at McGavock High School, was one of Cierpke’s first five string players, a founding member of the then titled “Trevecca College Community Orchestra.”

“Tim Cierpke began the orchestra group shortly after we moved here and I was thrilled because I had been looking for places to play,” said Johnson.

Within two years, the orchestra added horns and the group would eventually reach symphonic size, garnering the new name. The group’s seven concerts each year in various locations throughout middle Tennessee have also given them a name as a top community orchestra in Nashville. These efforts have led them to play a 10-day European tour two years ago, an excursion they look to repeat during the summer of 2009.

The musicians speak of a love of the diversity of the group, the friendly atmosphere, the great music they encouraged to play, and the enjoyable leadership. Cierpke sees these characteristics as a reason for the success seen in 20 years. All musicians are completely voluntary and they devote their time weekly to practice together.

Linda Joseph, a fiddle player who joined the orchestra four years ago, found a place of acceptance and encouragement at Trevecca.

I am more of a fiddle player than violinist, but the orchestra gave me a venue and a chance to learn more,” said Joseph. “I am now taking violin lessons and the weekly practice is one of the highlights of my life.

Thursday night’s event welcomed and honored those who have given their time to 20 years of excellence in music.

“We’ve certainly enjoyed it all these years,” said Johnson.