Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Art Exhibit Featuring Musical Instruments Raises Funds for Lawton Philharmonic Orchestra

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Art Exhibit Featuring Musical Instruments Raises Funds for Lawton Philharmonic Orchestra

Article excerpt

In 1962, a group of Lawton-area residents organized the Lawton Philharmonic Orchestra's first concert.

"It was a group of community music lovers," said Cathy Caccioppoli, the orchestra's executive director. "The original group was about 50 people excited about having a philharmonic orchestra."

The group of volunteers raised money to rent a performance hall and put on the first performance.

"They were all volunteers," Caccioppoli said of the concert organizers. "The music director and the musicians were all volunteers."

Their efforts proved successful.

"And here we are 50 years later," Caccioppoli said.

The Lawton Philharmonic Orchestra recently completed its 50th season. The nonprofit group sold about 500 season tickets for the season and sold 1,300 tickets for the final performance in April. The season's final performance was Beethoven's Symphony No. 9.

The orchestra operates on an annual budget of $277,000, with about 30 percent coming from ticket sales. With five performances scheduled for the upcoming 51st season, the budget is stretched thin.

"I am the only person on staff," Caccioppoli said. "I do not work full time. I am a paid part-time employee."

Office space is donated by BancFirst.

"We keep our operating expenses to a minimum," she said. "We put all our money into the concerts."

Musicians for concerts are paid on a single engagement contract.

"We have three rehearsals and a performance for each concert," Caccioppoli said.

A concert usually requires 60 to 70 musicians depending on the musical requirements. Most of the musicians come from the Lawton area, Oklahoma City and other areas of Oklahoma and the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

"You cannot fill out the orchestra from the Lawton area, so we reach out to other areas," she said.

Jon Kalbfleisch is the music director and conductor for the Lawton Philharmonic Orchestra. In August, he agreed to continue as music director and conductor at least through June 2014.

He has a bachelor's degree in piano performance from Cameron University and a master's degree in music in orchestral conducting from Southern Methodist University.

Kalbfleisch was born in Lawton but now lives in Washington, D.C. He is resident music director for the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Va., and has won five Helen Hayes Awards for Outstanding Musical Direction with 21 nominations. …

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