The Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra is celebrating seventeen years fulfilling its mission to produce live orchestral performances providing entertaiment, education and inspiration for our northern Michigan community.
The Mission of the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra is to produce live orchestral performances providing entertainment,
education and inspiration for our northern Michigan community.
Beginning in February, 2000 and continuing through the summer of 2001, Dr. Robert Pattengale, a retired music professor
(Minnesota State University Moorhead) organized chamber orchestras for four occasions in the local communities.
Two concerts were presented as benefit concerts in support of the developing Youth Orchestra (now existing as the Crooked
Tree Youth Orchestra) and two as part of the “Gossard and Friends” Concerts presented at the 1st Presbyterian Church of
Harbor Springs. Afterwards, the performing members urged Pattengale Margaret Beck, and "Bing" Farrar, retired professional
musicians, to establish a concert season for the orchestra. In September of 2001, a Board of Directors was formed,
By-laws were written and incorporation and nonprofit status were attained. The GLCO presented its first concerts in
October, 2001 under the direction of John Wilkinson, Music Director of the Sault Saint Marie Symphony Orchestra.
Margaret Beck served as Artistic Director and Robert Pattengale continued as Executive Director.
Following a series of guest conductors engaged during the first two seasons, Matthew Hazelwood was appointed
Music Advisor and principal conductor in 2003. Hazelwood is honored as Music Director Emeritus of the Battle
Creek Symphony and served as Music Director of the Colombian Music Education program, Batuta.
Supported by a Frey Foundation Grant, Dale Hull was hired as part-time Executive Director in 2006,
and at the beginning of the 7th season Hazelwood assumed the position of Music Director. Hazelwood
resigned in December of that year as a result of lack of funding. The Board of Trustees responded
with vigor, hosting fundraising events and returning to volunteer administrators, Robert Pattengale
and Nancy Koski. The individual supporting members now number more than 300 and the orchestra roster
now includes over 50 musicians from across the entire region. Nancy Koski assumed the position of
Executive Director in 2011 and continued until July, 2014.
Anne McDevitt was hired in July 2014 and is the current Executive Director.
After the three pairs of concerts presented the first season, the GLCO has presented more than 100 full orchestra performances
for over 10,000 people throughout the northern Michigan communities. In 2008 the Crooked Tree Art Center presented the GLCO
an "eddi" in recognition for its outstanding community arts contribution.
While preparing for a major concert, Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana" which was awarded an NEA Challenge Grant, Maestro
Hazelwood had a heart attack and died in Bogotá, Colombia, in June 2012. The GLCO was shaken by the unexpected loss
and spent 2012, 2013 and early 2014 engaged in a search for a new music director. Dr. Pattengale and Concertmaster,
Paul Sonner, were appointed Co-Artistic Directors during the search. Numerous candidates were screened, and 6 were
invited to conduct the orchestra. Four candidates were interviewed following their appearances as guest conductors.
The Search Committee recommended Dr. Libor Ondras and the Board of Trustees appointed him as Music Director in April, 2014.
The Vision of the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra is that we will be "the Resident Chamber Orchestra of Northern Michigan that produces a sustainable, high-quality product that delights the community."