Quality Entertainment For The Whole Family
“To rouse the appreciation of music within the community!”
By Michelle Ochsner
From Ludwig van Beethoven’s symphony No. 5 to John Williams’s film scores including Harry Potter and Jaws, composure’s create music to be timeless in a world that takes time for granted. The musical sets put together by conductors and the musicians who play these enchanting compositions evoke emotional reactions that are marvelous. The force of the sound encompasses the mind as imagination takes flight. Suspending time as we know it and transporting rational thought to a different locality.
Mesmerized by the performance one might imagine cartoon mice chasing cheese rolling around as they bump into the wall, while another is envisioning two lovers holding each other as they glide across the dance floor. That’s the beauty of these compositions, cognition is boundless. Music evokes different emotions in people based on personal experiences taking you on an amazing journey.
When spectators attend a symphony, expectations are high. For 23 years, the Meridian Symphony Orchestra has captivated audiences around the area with extraordinary performances. The orchestra provides quality entertainment for the entire family as they characterize elegance in the form of music with instrumentalists of all ages.
The ensemble of this symphony consists of 70 members each who volunteer their time, all for the love of playing music. Every member of the orchestra makes use of their own resources for practicing, marketing, and performing without compensation. This group’s dedication is wondrous. When most people are winding down after a long day at the office, these musicians prepare for rehearsal. Long as their day has been, when the music starts their energy erupts.
Under new guidance this season, the orchestra openly welcomes Conductor and Artistic Director, Jim Ogle on the podium. And they couldn’t be more excited to have such an opportunity.
With nearly 40 years of conducting experience this maestro has anything but humble beginnings. From the age of six, Ogle has immersed himself with music. Studying in Pairs at the National Conservatory of Music in the 1960’s, and winning the Malko International Conductor’s Competition in Copenhagen, Denmark in the 1970’s Ogle has proven talent. He founded the Symphony’s Summer Residency in Boone, where he was artistic director and conductor for 12 years, and became assistant and associate conductor of the North Carolina Symphony for 18 years and returns annually to conduct George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah.”
Retiring after spending two decades with the Boise Philharmonic and named Conductor Emeritus, Ogle is now the Interim Development Director at Boise State University promoting and fundraising for the university’s academic programs. Subsequent to his time off from conducting, Jim was ready for something different and joined the Meridian Symphony Orchestra contributing an aura of passion and excitement.
“The dedication and musicianship of this orchestra has enriched my life. I am proud to be part of this organization. They are nice people to be around and bring a lot of joy to me,” says Ogle overcome with emotion. “It’s satisfying to have joined such a wonderful group of musicians and partner up with the Meridian Symphony Orchestra.”
The members of the orchestra hold the same admiration for their new conductor as he does for them. It’s obvious by their performances how perfect this collaboration really is.
“When Tom Phelps, a fellow musician and friend, invited me to be the guest conductor for the Meridian Symphony Orchestra it felt like a love fest. In the fall of 2011 I called Tom for another guest opportunity and he offered me the job of Conductor,” says Ogle.
The rest so they say, is history and Ogle plans to stay on the podium as long as the orchestra will have him.
David Stolhand, Vice President and Senior Trust Officer at Bank of the Cascades, has served the Meridian Symphony Orchestra as Board President and Violinist since 2002.
He began playing the violin when he was in the 4th grade. “I had great teachers both in school, John Hamilton, and in private lessons, Kathryn Mitchell,” says David. “As I moved on to Boise State University, music was still a very important part of my life, but I eventually migrated over to the business school where I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree, majoring in finance.”
Sometime later and with a longing to play again, David with the support of his wife, contacted the Meridian Symphony to see if they had an opening for a violinist. That was nearly 15 years ago. “In addition to playing, I found that my experience on the business side of the Symphony may be a good fit as well.”
David has a great deal of enthusiasm about their new conductor Jim Ogle. He believes Ogle’s experience on the podium will bring about new and exciting performances from everyone involved.
“The orchestra has a variety of people within its organization. Everyone here has a day job to support their music,” says Stolhand with a proud smile. “My story is not unlike many others in our group. We are passionate about playing music, but our chosen career is in something other than music. Our musicians, conductors and most importantly our audience have allowed us to grow and continue to provide great music to the residents of Meridian and the surrounding communities.”
Principle Trumpet player Michael Seyler owns Dental Artistry, a state of the art dental practice in Eagle. With a degree in music from Western Washington University, Seyler went on to teach music on Mercer Island, than decided to attend the University of Washington to earn his dental degree.
“I became a dentist to support my music habit,” says Dr. Seyler jokingly. “I started out playing Cornet in the fifth grade. My mother played piano and made it great fun for me.”
While living in Seattle, Dr. Seyler performed with a Brass Quartette, and assumed the role of principal trumpet in the Seattle Chamber Orchestra as well as the Cascade Symphony Orchestra. As a musician he is open to playing many genres of music.
Dr. Seyler has carried on with the Meridian Symphony Orchestra for four years. He provides his dental clientel with Meridian Symphony Orchestra marketing materials to aid with advertising. As demanding as his schedule is, he wouldn’t change a thing.
“I practice the trumpet two to three hours a day for the orchestra, teach at the Idaho State University Dental Residency program, plus keep up my dental practice,” says Seyler. “I’m having a good time. It’s exciting to see the growth and change in the abilities and musicianship of the orchestra.”
The Meridian Symphony Orchestra is a non-profit organization that solely relies on contributions from the community. All donations and ticket sales directly go towards venue rentals and support community outreach programs such as the Annual Young Artist Competition. Every year the orchestra invites young musicians from 4th through 12th grade to compete for two positions to play in the symphony.
Jim Ogle also judges the competition saying, “The young talent in the area is extraordinary.”
Performances by the Meridian Symphony Orchestra are held in various venues around the area with their home stage situated at the Centennial Performing Arts Center. Productions also take place at the Kuna Performing Arts Center, Jewett Auditorium at the College of Idaho, and Middleton High School Performing Arts Center.