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Symphony serving up platinum

Butler County association going 70 years strong

September 11, 2018 Digital Media Exclusive

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Butler County Symphony members, from left, Harry Savisky, Board President Patricia Stagno, Charles Norton, event chairwoman Judith Wadding, Janice Larrick and Maxine Rapp look over the program for the 70th anniversary dinner that will honor Norton and Larrick at the symphony office in Butler on Monday Sept. 10, 2018.(Justin Guido photo)

Tradition has it the gift for a 70th anniversary is platinum.

So it's fitting, the Butler County Symphony Association has named its anniversary dinner Friday at the Butler Country Club “Symphony Platinum: 70 Years in the Making.”

Patricia Stagno, association board president, said the association will use the night to start a new tradition naming three recipients of its first awards.

The awards have been established to honor those who have made outstanding contributions to the Butler County Symphony.

“We feel that this is a fitting and long-overdue recognition of some very special people who have made this journey possible. It is the association's intent to select and honor additional individuals and/or groups each season,” said Stagno.

One honoree, Janice Larrick, has been a longtime supporter, past president and board member of the symphony.

Stagno said, “Janice has been president, an organist and played cello for a good number of years.”

Judith Wadding, who chairs the event, said more than 100 nominees were considered.

Charles Norton has been a performing member and continued supporter of the symphony.

Norton, who for many years was principal clarinetist before serving on the symphony board, said he was there for the symphony's first concerts.

“The first concert I played was in February 1949. It was an invitational concert. In April 1950, the symphony played its first subscription concert,” said Norton.

“Edward Roncone, he was the first conductor. He was an instigator in getting the symphony started. He was a junior high music teacher at Butler.”

Norton added, “In the beginning, it was all volunteers. In the original orchestra, we had 20 members from Butler County. We hired musicians from Pittsburgh to fill in.”

The symphony's 70th season begins Oct. 6 with its “Bernstein and Barber” concert.

Read the full story in Wednesdayu's Butler Eagle

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Eric Freehling

Eric Freehling

Eric was born in Butler and grew up in Winfield Township. He graduated from Knoch High School and later Indiana University of Pa. with a degree in Journalism. After working as a reporter and editor with the Kittanning Leader-Times, he moved to Bloomington, Illinois, where he worked at The Pantagraph newspaper as a copy editor, page designer, reporter and business editor. Freehling later worked at the Houston Chronicle as senior copy editor and the Chicago Tribune as a copy editor on the business desk. He moved back to Pennsylvania in 2010 and joined the Butler Eagle as Community Editor in January 2011.