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It all started in 2002—founding members of the Cambridge Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts, Alan Denney and Heather Franklin, were discussing the event with Sandi Sherk (a french horn player). Classical musicians were needed for the upcoming June 2003 event. Sandi was the spark that set things in motion; she approached Ann Green who was the owner of Beyond the Clef Music School.


The result was a gathering of several classical musicians eager to play at the first Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts.

The event was a huge success—and inspired what would eventually become the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra (CSO).


Motivated by their success, they saw the potential for further growth and in 2004, following advertising and press releases, they attracted more musicians throughout the region. In June 2004, at the next Celebration of the Arts event, the Cambridge Community Orchestra played its first public performance to an astonished audience. The group’s first full inaugural concert was held on May 15, 2005, in the Toyota Room at the Cambridge Centre for the Arts.


The major turning point for the orchestra occurred when the Board Chair at the time, Ted Boyd, secured a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The grant would allow the organization to hire a professional music director. The successful candidate was our current maestro, Sabatino Vacca—the orchestra has never looked back!

The Cambridge Symphony Orchestra has continued to flourish under his expert direction as new and more accomplished players join the Symphony.


In 2014, the Cambridge Youth Orchestra was formed and is fortunate to be managed and conducted by the CSO Concert Master, Joy Schuster. At some concerts, the CYO has had the tremendous opportunity to perform side-by-side with the CSO. We continue to be invested in these young people as they become the future musicians of the Orchestra.  


As we look back at how far we’ve come, we also look forward eagerly to the future as our organization continues to grow.

We are thankful for the many individuals which have contributed their time and effort as Board Chairs over the years: Alan Denney, Ted Boyd, Jill Summerhayes, Iris Williams and Helen Devries (co-chairs), Catherine Tucci, John McDonald, Bill Roberts, Karen Johannes, and currently, Michael Lawrie. Each member has influenced the organization in their own positive and unique way.

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