Press Releases

The American Dream 1024 683 Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra

The American Dream

Season Finale to be a Musical Tour of the U.S.A., with Roger Wise as narrator.

JCSO to Collect Donated Food Items at Concert for North Fulton Community Charities Food Pantry as part of “Orchestras Feeding America” National Campaign.

Johns Creek, Georgia– The Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra will conclude its 2017-2018 season on Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. with a program titled “The American Dream” at Johns Creek United Methodist Church, 11180 Medlock Bridge Road in Johns Creek. The program, conducted by Maestro J. Wayne Baughman, will feature Roger Wise as narrator and Brent Davis, baritone.

This program is supported in part by the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly.  GCA also receives support from its partner agency – the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov. Additional support comes from the Rotary Club of Johns Creek North Fulton.

“This concert is a musical tour of the country we all call home,” said JCSO Executive Director Linda Brill. “We will play a little jazz, some Broadway favorites, old American songs, and we will go all the way out West to the wide, sweeping soundscapes of the American frontier. Along the way, we will salute the heroes who have made the American Dream possible for us all.”

 

TICKETS for this public performance are $32 for adults; $27 for seniors; and $16 for students. Group rates are available for groups of 10 or more. For tickets, call (678) 748-5802 or visit www.johnscreeksymphony.org.

In conjunction with this performance, the Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra has joined forces with 36 other orchestras across America as part of the “Orchestras Feeding America” national campaign spearheaded by the League of American Orchestras. “We are encouraging our audience members to bring nonperishable food items to this performance, which we will collect and transport to North Fulton Community Charities Food Pantry. Many people in our community are struggling to achieve the American Dream, and we’d like to lend a helping hand by joining this national initiative,” said Brill.

North Fulton Community Charities distributes more than 9 tons of food and staple goods each week. NFCC’s pantry most needs: pasta sauce, rice, and toothpaste. Canned goods: potatoes, spinach, collards, beets, carrots, mixed veggie pea/carrot combo, sweet potatoes/yams, tomato sauce/paste, ramen noodles, Hamburger Helper-type meals, corn meal, grits.

The League of American Orchestras first joined forces with Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization, in 2009. More than 215 orchestras in all 50 states participated in an unprecedented coordinated effort by collecting and donating food to their local food assistance agency or food bank within Feeding America’s network of more than 200 food banks and 60,000 agencies. Since then, over 360 orchestras have participated in the annual effort.

Roger Wise is originally from Goldsboro, North Carolina, and he attended Goldsboro High School and East Carolina College.  Roger had a successful 30-year career with the Ross division of Abbott Laboratories. He retired as the Southeast Regional Manager of Academic and Government Services.

Roger and his wife, Claire Jo, have been married for 45 years. They have lived in the Horseshoe Bend community of North Fulton County for 35 years. They have three grown children and five grandchildren.

During his 35 years in Fulton County, Roger has been a member and chairman of the Fulton County Housing Authority and the Fulton County Planning and Zoning Commission. He has been an active citizen, working with many leaders and the membership of local organizations. He is on too many boards to mention and is the ambassador to the community at large for numerous organizations.  Roger has worked with government officials at all levels on countless projects and ideas that have benefitted our community and the state of Georgia. He is always available to move a project forward and to see it through to a successful conclusion. Roger has helped so many individuals and organizations around the state to become better leaders, and in so doing his efforts have created stronger organizations through stronger leadership.

He has worked directly with leaders and members of the Johns Creek, Roswell, Alpharetta and Milton communities. Roger has always been available to work with elected officials and organizations to promote good ideas that benefit the citizens of North Fulton. In so doing he has promoted, assisted with, and worked with just about every organization in the cities and communities of North Fulton. Roger is known as “Georgia’s Mr. Facilitator – The Go to Guy” who always gets the job done in the best possible way.

An Army veteran, Roger is the ambassador for Post 201 of the American Legion and is always an active participant in recognizing and assisting our community in giving special recognition to our local men and women who serve in our military. He is the national ambassador for the Shriners Hospital System, the Shriners of Georgia, and the Masons of Georgia, always working tirelessly to support our greatest natural resource – our children. Roger pays his civic rent. Georgia is a better place because of his contributions to his community, county, state, and nation.

Baritone Brent Davis, a Georgia native, made his professional debut with The Atlanta Opera in 2004 and has since performed with opera companies and orchestras locally and abroad. Mr. Davis has collaborated on projects with the National Endowment for the Arts and Meridian Herald, and performed in company premieres with The Atlanta Opera in Akhnaten and Cold Sassy Tree with the rare opportunity to work with composer Philip Glass and Carlisle Floyd. Last season included performances with Meridian Chorale featuring soprano Jessye Norman and tenor Timothy Miller, Dona Nobis Pacem with Michael O’Neal Singers and Georgia Philharmonic, and a Patriotic Concert with Atlanta Wind Symphony and Roswell UMC Sanctuary Choir. This season includes Brahms’ Requiem with Michael O’Neal Singers and Songs of Brotherhood concert with Mark Miller Band and tenor Timothy Miller at Roswell UMC Chapel. Mr. Davis received his Master of Music degree from University of Illinois and Bachelor of Music from Clayton State University, and has worked extensively with acclaimed Metropolitan Opera baritone Frederick Burchinal.

JCSO Music Director and Conductor J. Wayne Baughman studied choral and orchestral conducting, earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in music education from the University of Alabama, as well as advanced studies in conducting at the University of Michigan.

Upon his arrival in Atlanta in 1974, Maestro Baughman immediately became involved with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Choruses, and for 25 years he was a frequent vocal soloist, chorus member, and rehearsal conductor under the guidance of the late Robert Shaw. Well known for his oratorio performances as bass soloist, he collaborated with Maestro Shaw on numerous performance projects, including the Mozart Requiem Mass, J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion, and Handel’s Messiah. In 1990, as bass soloist, Maestro Baughman shared the honor of a Grammy Award for the Telarc recording of Belshazzar’s Feast (Walton) and Chichester Psalms (Bernstein) with Robert Shaw and the ASO.

Maestro Baughman has held conducting positions at the State University of New York at Cortland and Brevard Music Center. He also served as music director at Peachtree Christian Church in Atlanta for nine years, where his performances of major choral-orchestral works received critical acclaim. Maestro Baughman is recently retired from liturgical music.

 Now in its eleventh season, the Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra is metro Atlanta’s only fully-professional, part-time symphonic orchestra, made up of professional musicians from all over the greater metro Atlanta area. The Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Founder and Music Director J. Wayne Baughman, provides musical enrichment for the community of Johns Creek through a three-concert series of performances, as well as additional educational programs and special events each year.       

Thanks to our season supporters:

Virtuoso Strings! 1024 683 Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra

Virtuoso Strings!

First-ever Matinee Performance to include Pre-concert Talk and Post-concert Reception.

Johns Creek, Georgia– The Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra will continue its 2017-2018 season with “Virtuoso Strings,” featuring the Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra’s very own string section on Sunday, March 11, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. at the Johns Creek United Methodist Church, 11180 Medlock Bridge Road in Johns Creek, Georgia.

TICKETS for this public performance are $32 for adults; $27 for seniors; and $16 for students. Group rates are available for groups of 10 or more. For tickets, call (678) 748-5802 or visit www.johnscreeksymphony.org. The price of admission includes a pre-concert talk beginning at 2:15 p.m. as well as a complimentary post-concert reception hosted by the Friends of the Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra.

“Each year in the spring, we survey our audience,” remarked JCSO Executive Director Linda Brill. “In our most recent survey, a significant portion of our respondents indicated a desire for a matinee concert option, so in response we scheduled this concert on a Sunday afternoon. We hope that seniors in particular will find this to be an attractive opportunity to try out the Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra.”

In addition to the change in day and time of this performance, the Symphony is adding a pre-concert talk to this event, conducted by JCSO cellist Sarah Kapps. Ms. Kapps, a native of Philadelphia, has an active and diverse musical background that has taken her across much of the globe as soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral member. She holds degrees from The Manhattan School of Music and The Mannes College of Music, and has studied with Paul Tobias and Peter Wiley of the Guarneri Quartet. She now lives in Atlanta and serves on the faculty at the William Pu Music Academy. She has performed with JCSO since 2010.

“Ms. Kapps performed on the Maestro and Friends concert last October as a member of the Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra String Quartet,” said Linda Brill. “During the performance, in casual conversation, she provided an amazing amount of information to the audience in an entertaining, spontaneous way that was fun and accessible. We decided to bring her back in a planned pre-concert discussion for this concert so she can share her knowledge and perspective as a performer on this concert.”

The music for “Virtuoso Strings” will include pieces that highlight the virtuosity and exceptional artistry of the Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra’s very own performers. JCSO musicians are among the finest instrumentalists in America, with an average of 16 years’ experience in professional orchestras. Most of the members have graduate degrees or artist diplomas in performing arts from the leading institutions of higher learning in the U.S., and many have received additional training in Berlin, London, Rome, Salzburg, Vienna, and other leading European music centers.

Perhaps the most widely-known piece on the concert is Gustav Holst’s Saint Paul’s Suite, written while the composer was in residence as music director of the St. Paul’s Girls’ School in London, England. The concert also includes the lovely, romantic Serenade Op. 6 by Czech composer Josef Suk; British composer Peter Warlock’s Capriol Suite, based on a suite of six Renaissance dances; and Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla’s lively and poignant Tango Ballet. “This concert may be the most enjoyable to play and to listen to that we perform all season long,” said Music Director J. Wayne Baughman.

JCSO Music Director and Conductor J. Wayne Baughman studied choral and orchestral conducting, earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in music education from the University of Alabama, as well as advanced studies in conducting at the University of Michigan.

Upon his arrival in Atlanta in 1974, Maestro Baughman immediately became involved with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Choruses, and for 25 years he was a frequent vocal soloist, chorus member, and rehearsal conductor under the guidance of the late Robert Shaw. Well known for his oratorio performances as bass soloist, he collaborated with Maestro Shaw on numerous performance projects, including the Mozart Requiem Mass, J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion, and Handel’s Messiah. In 1990, as bass soloist, Maestro Baughman shared the honor of a Grammy Award for the Telarc recording of Belshazzar’s Feast (Walton) and Chichester Psalms (Bernstein) with Robert Shaw and the ASO.

Maestro Baughman has held conducting positions at the State University of New York at Cortland and Brevard Music Center. He also served as music director at Peachtree Christian Church in Atlanta for nine years, where his performances of major choral-orchestral works received critical acclaim. Maestro Baughman is recently retired from liturgical music.
Now in its eleventh season, the Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra is metro Atlanta’s only fully-professional, part-time symphonic orchestra, made up of professional musicians from all over the greater metro Atlanta area. The Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Founder and Music Director J. Wayne Baughman, provides musical enrichment for the community of Johns Creek through a three-concert series of performances, as well as additional educational programs and special events each year.

Thanks to our season supporters:

Presenting the Annual “Christmas Gala Holiday Pops” 1024 683 Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra

Presenting the Annual “Christmas Gala Holiday Pops”

Johns Creek, Georgia– The Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra will open its 2017-2018 subscription season with its annual “Christmas Gala Holiday Pops,” featuring the Christmas Gala Chorus and guest vocalist Timothy Miller on Saturday, December 16, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. at the Johns Creek United Methodist Church, 11180 Medlock Bridge Road in Johns Creek, Georgia.

This family friendly concert, conducted by Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra Music Director J. Wayne Baughman, will include an audience sing-along and holiday favorites that will be enjoyed by both the young and young-at-heart. In the Boston Pops style, this performance will include a variety of seasonal, sacred, and secular music, including John Rutter’s “Star Carol,” Leroy Anderson’s “Christmas Festival,” Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” and “Sleigh Ride,” among many others, filling the audience with the wonder and awe of the holiday season.

TICKETS for this public performance are $32 for adults; $27 for seniors; and $16 for students. For tickets, call (678) 748-5802 or visit www.johnscreeksymphony.org. This concert is extremely popular every year, and patrons are strongly encouraged to purchase their tickets well in advance.

Timothy Miller is an active performer with both national and international credits. Operatic roles include Monastatos and First Armored Man in Mozart’s Die Zauberflӧte, Street in Davis’ X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X, Un Messaggero in Verdi’s Aida, and Parpignol in Puccini’s La Boheme. In June of 2008, Mr. Miller sang the role of Crab Man in critically-acclaimed performances of Porgy and Bess at the Opéra-Comique in Paris and on tour in Luxembourg, Granada, and Normandy. He has also appeared in concert performances of Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Magnificat, and a concert version of excerpts from Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier, performed with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. In March 2013 Mr. Miller sang the role of Comrade Alexander Ossipon in the world premiere of Curtis Bryant’s The Secret Agent with libretto by Alan Reichman.

Perhaps most widely recognized for his stirring renditions of “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch of Atlanta Braves home games, Timothy Miller has extended his exposure well beyond the concert stage. Soloist for the 2011 Georgia Gubernatorial Inauguration Ceremony, featured artist promos for Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, and featured artist in the December 2012 edition of The Atlantan Magazine “Patrons and Players” rounds out a growing list of memorable career highlights. In April 2016, Mr. Miller made his debut with the Georgia Symphony as tenor soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

The Christmas Gala Chorus is a volunteer ensemble that unites each year for the purpose of performing on the Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra’s Christmas Gala concert. Comprised of experienced vocalists from every walk of life and from many neighborhoods in the Atlanta metro area, this talented group of singers rehearses during the months of November and December in preparation for this popular holiday performance.

JCSO Music Director and Conductor J. Wayne Baughman studied choral and orchestral conducting, earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in music education from the University of Alabama, as well as advanced studies in conducting at the University of Michigan.

Upon his arrival in Atlanta in 1974, Maestro Baughman immediately became involved with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Choruses, and for 25 years he was a frequent vocal soloist, chorus member, and rehearsal conductor under the guidance of the late Robert Shaw. Well known for his oratorio performances as bass soloist, he collaborated with Maestro Shaw on numerous performance projects, including the Mozart Requiem Mass, J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion, and Handel’s Messiah. In 1990, as bass soloist, Maestro Baughman shared the honor of a Grammy Award for the Telarc recording of Belshazzar’s Feast (Walton) and Chichester Psalms (Bernstein) with Robert Shaw and the ASO.

Maestro Baughman has held conducting positions at the State University of New York at Cortland and Brevard Music Center. He also served as music director at Peachtree Christian Church in Atlanta for nine years, where his performances of major choral-orchestral works received critical acclaim. Maestro Baughman is recently retired from liturgical music.
Now in its eleventh season, the Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra is metro Atlanta’s only fully-professional, part-time symphonic orchestra, made up of professional musicians from all over the greater metro Atlanta area. The Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Founder and Music Director J. Wayne Baughman, provides musical enrichment for the community of Johns Creek through a three-concert series of performances, as well as additional educational programs and special events each year.

Thanks to our season supporters:

Maestro and Friends: A Musical Conversation 1024 683 Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra

Maestro and Friends: A Musical Conversation

Johns Creek, Georgia– The Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra will present “Maestro and Friends: A Musical Conversation” featuring the JCSO String Quartet, with special guests Maestro J. Wayne Baughman and John Lemley on Sunday, October 29, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. in the Gathering Room of the Johns Creek United Methodist Church, 11180 Medlock Bridge Road in Johns Creek, Georgia.

The repertoire for the afternoon will include Beethoven’s Op. 18, No. 4 in c minor, Mozart’s String Quartet No. 14 in G Major, and Ravel’s Quartet in F Major. In this unique, intimate, and interactive setting, patrons will have the opportunity to engage Maestro Baughman and Mr. Lemley with questions, while both share interesting musical commentary.

TICKETS for this public performance are $35 for adults and seniors and $16 for children. Only 150 tickets will be sold, so patrons are strongly encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance. For tickets, call (678) 748-5802 or visit www.johnscreeksymphony.org.

John Lemley is the host and producer of Atlanta’s only weekday classical radio program, John Lemley’s City Café, on AM 1690 WMLB, “The Voice of the Arts.”

From 1997-2015, John was an on-air host and producer at 90.1 WABE, Atlanta’s NPR station. He created and hosted numerous news and music programs, including Daytime, Aubade, Tapestry, The Stargazer’s Journal, Bach’s Lunch and All Things Considered.

On Groundhog Day 2009, Lemley and a small group of WABE producers launched the one-hour daily music, arts, and culture program, City Café with John Lemley, which included interviews with people from all walks of metro-Atlanta life, along with a number of international celebrities, including Richard Chamberlain, Barry Manilow, Joan Rivers, and the B-52’s Fred Schneider.

Lemley has garnered a number of accolades and awards. In 2008, he was named “Best Drive-Time DJ” by the staff of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for his work as host of All Things Considered. In 2010, Atlanta Magazine picked Lemley and City Café as “Best of the Dial.” In 2012, Lemley received a GLAAD media award.

The Oneonta, Alabama native is an “accidental broadcaster,” who received a B.A. in Musical Theatre from Birmingham-Southern College and spent the better part of his early years on-stage, but fell into a roll as an announcer on public radio at WBHM in Birmingham, Alabama, and found his calling. In 2013, John dusted off his acting shoes and performed the role of “BBC Interviewer” in the critically acclaimed production End of the Rainbow at Atlanta-based theatre company, Actor’s Express.

John Lemley has become a fixture in the Atlanta-community, and serves as a narrator and emcee for fundraisers and public performances benefitting area non-profits and service organizations. John lives in Decatur, GA with his partner, Mike Selk.

JCSO Music Director and Conductor J. Wayne Baughman studied choral and orchestral conducting, earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in music education from the University of Alabama, as well as advanced studies in conducting at the University of Michigan.

Upon his arrival in Atlanta in 1974, Maestro Baughman immediately became involved with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Choruses, and for 25 years he was a frequent vocal soloist, chorus member, and rehearsal conductor under the guidance of the late Robert Shaw. Well known for his oratorio performances as bass soloist, he collaborated with Maestro Shaw on numerous performance projects, including the Mozart Requiem Mass, J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion, and Handel’s Messiah. In 1990, as bass soloist, Maestro Baughman shared the honor of a Grammy Award for the Telarc recording of Belshazzar’s Feast (Walton) and Chichester Psalms (Bernstein) with Robert Shaw and the ASO.

Maestro Baughman has held conducting positions at the State University of New York at Cortland and Brevard Music Center. He also served as music director at Peachtree Christian Church in Atlanta for nine years, where his performances of major choral-orchestral works received critical acclaim. Maestro Baughman is recently retired from liturgical music.
Now entering its eleventh season, the Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra is metro Atlanta’s only fully-professional, part-time symphonic orchestra, made up of professional musicians from all over the greater metro Atlanta area. The Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Founder and Music Director J. Wayne Baughman, provides musical enrichment for the community of Johns Creek through a three-concert series of performances, as well as additional educational programs and special events each year.

Thanks to our season supporters:

JCSO Names New Executive Director 1024 683 Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra

JCSO Names New Executive Director

Johns Creek, Georgia– The Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra announces that Linda Brill has been hired as its new executive director, effective August 1. Ms. Brill succeeds Sue Haggerty, who held the position for nine seasons, having been part of the JCSO since its founding. Although officially retired from her position, Ms. Haggerty will continue to support the educational programs of the orchestra.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Linda Brill to the administrative team,” remarked Johns Creek Symphony Board Chair Craig Carter. “Her extensive experience in orchestra management, leadership qualities, and musical background will be assets to this organization as we move into our second decade.”

Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Linda Brill attended the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and Miami University (Ohio), where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in music and Spanish. She completed her Master of Music degree in clarinet performance at Florida State University, with an additional concentration in arts administration. She has completed additional coursework towards the Master of Marketing and Communications degree at Franklin University.

Ms. Brill’s 22-year career in orchestra management has included marketing internships with the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, as well as 12 years working in the marketing and communications department of the Columbus (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra, where she was active in the Columbus Arts Marketing Association. Ms. Brill left the Columbus Symphony to establish a freelance arts marketing business, with clients that have included the New Albany Symphony Orchestra, ProMusica (Ohio) Chamber Orchestra, and the Columbus Children’s Choir.

Since relocating to Atlanta with her family in 2014, Ms. Brill has continued her career in arts management and has served two terms as marketing chair of the Georgia Philharmonic’s board of directors. She is also a guest clinician at Taylor Road Middle School, Chattahoochee High School, and Northview High School; a private clarinet teacher; and a clarinetist in the Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra.

Linda Brill and her husband, Eric, reside in Alpharetta with their three children.
Now entering its eleventh season, the Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra is metro Atlanta’s only fully-professional, part-time symphonic orchestra, made up of professional musicians from all over the greater metro Atlanta area. The Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Founder and Music Director J. Wayne Baughman, provides musical enrichment for the community of Johns Creek through a three-concert series of performances, as well as additional educational programs and special events each year.

JCSO Presents ‘Baroque and Classical Favorites’ 974 641 Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra

JCSO Presents ‘Baroque and Classical Favorites’

Features young people’s performance

February 13, 2013

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – The Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra will present its winter concert Feb. 16, “Baroque and Classical Favorites.”This concert features selections from Mozart and C.P.E. Bach performed by outstanding musicians under the direction of Maestro J. Wayne Baughman and spotlights a young people’s performance by the violin students of NATE – North Atlanta Talent Education.

These extremely talented young musicians will be performing the Vivaldi Concerto in A Minor, conducted by Baughman and accompanied by the JCSO.

“The Baroque Period [1600-1750] gets its name from the architectural style of the same era, and is reflective of that architecture. So the music is more ornate. It is the period of Bach, Handel and Vivaldi. There are lots of frills and fancies – and a lot of notes,” said Baughman.

The Classical Period [1750-1820] will be represented by Michael Haydn (younger brother of the more famous Franz Joseph Haydn) and Mozart, Baughman said.

The maestro is particularly excited about the young NATE musicians who will participate. The students range in age from 7 to 18 years of age. They study in Roswell under the direction of Tricia Anderson, Tracy Shealy and Rachel Bachmeier who apply the Suzuki method of teaching instruments. Also, several of these students study with JCSO Concertmaster Adelaide Federici and violinist Kim Barnes.

This is the first time the JCSO has invited so many young students to perform as guest soloists.

“This is unusual in that all of the students will be playing the one Mozart concerto collectively as soloists,” Baughman said. “These kids are very solid. They play with a lot of confidence. When you are a 10- or 11-year-old student and have been playing the violin for five or six years, you walk out on that stage and don’t bat an eyelash.”

The concert will also take the time to recognize the contributions made by state, local and regional civic organizations and government leaders who have embraced the arts.

The support of local arts entities contributes to the quality of life in our communities, said Baughman. Their efforts ensure that the arts will remain a priority in the region.

Our Town: Johns Creek City growth rate enables first-rate orchestra 1024 683 Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra

Our Town: Johns Creek City growth rate enables first-rate orchestra

(Originally published in the AJC)

By H.M. Cauley

J. Wayne Baughman saw the growth in Johns Creek coming years before it ever exploded. As far back as the late 1980s, when he first started working in the area, he knew it was going to be big. And the church musician, chorale director and conductor had a big idea to match it.

The insight struck as Baughman was conducting a holiday performance of Handel’s Messiah.

“I did the unthinkable,” he now admits, “and allowed my brain to think of something else in the middle of conducting. But it was a great idea: that we could have a professional orchestra here. It was an idea born long before anything was done about it. It even took three years just to incorporate. But everything I was told about the growth patterns here has happened; in fact, it’s even more terrific than we anticipated.”

Baughman saw the subdivisions, schools and office parks going up and believed that the people who lived and worked in them would support a professional orchestra. And he meant it to be professional, not a community organization of volunteers or students alongside a few paid musicians, but a full complement of top-tier performers. Baughman’s idea became a reality almost six years ago, and ever since, the professional Johns Creek Symphony has offered residents on the northside the chance to hear what Baughman calls “big-time classical, symphonic music.”

“I’m not discouraging people from hearing the Atlanta Symphony,” he assures. “But they now can hear great music without having to travel an hour each way to go to Midtown. As our mission statement says, we’ll play the greatest music at the highest professional level.”

Finding high-calibre musicians to fill the orchestra’s 45 seats has not been a challenge, said Baughman, who recruits players from around the metro area.

“We’ve hired and retained the most highly qualified musicians who do not already work for the ASO,” he said with a smile. “We’re very lucky to live in a [metro] area with a lot of talented people – probably enough to build two professional orchestras.”

The Johns Creek group stages about four concerts a year in various locations from the local high school to the 2,000-seat sanctuary of the Johns Creek Baptist Church. The annual holiday gala will take place tonight at St. Benedict Catholic Church where Baughman, 66, is the music director. Ticket sales from the concerts, along with government grants, corporate support and individual donations, keep the music playing.

“I think the people in our community are really beginning to develop an identity with the orchestra,” said Baughman. “They have a great deal of pride in the fact that we do have our own.”

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