Creating Positive Change

Mark Walter

Virginia has 11 professional symphony orchestras and number of community orchestras. On the average each of Virginia’s orchestras serve approximately 5% of Virginia’s 7,078,515 citizens. Another way of looking at it is for each 337,072 people there is one orchestra. With a population of 66,670 Bedford City/County comprises less than 1% of Virginia’s total population, making the Bedford area a State leader for having its own orchestra.

In our region of the State we are fortunate to have a number of orchestras: The Roanoke and Lynchburg symphony orchestras, as well as several community orchestras. In an essay, Paul R. Judy, former President of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, states that “the small, local nature of symphony orchestra organizations, and the intense devotion which all participants have to them, provide a solid foundation for positive change.”

When a community has its own orchestra it can reap the benefits of an expanding awareness of the diversity of music. But it also benefits from an orchestra’s unique ability to positively influence creativity of thought, behavior, emotions, education and events. Under seasoned leadership and with enthusiastic community support, orchestras become catalysts for community growth and improvement.