Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Green Bay community orchestra maps changes for 2021-2022

Critic At Large

Civic Symphony of Green Bay

Season image. (Civic Symphony of Green Bay)

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Civic Symphony of Green Bay has come up with differences for its 2021-2022 season. Classical music still is at the core of its four-concert season, but where and how have changed.

Three concerts will take place at St. Norbert College (versus at Meyer Theatre in recent seasons). Virtual attendance is a new option. Starting times vary.

According to the community orchestra’s website:

The October, February and April performances have ticketing options to purchase in-person seating at St. Norbert College’s Walter Theatre, or virtual livestream access. Selection of preference can be made during ticket purchase.

The November performance, held at the Green Bay Community Church, will be presented as a fundraising event. Offered will be free general admission – no ticket required – with free-will donations accepted in-lieu of ticket sales. The concert features all public domain works. A public link will be shared for those that wish to attend virtually. Details will be announced.

Music director and conductor for the concert is Seong-Kyung Graham.

The schedule:

+ Saturday, Oct. 2, 7 p.m.: “Fall for All”

Walter Theatre, Abbot Pennings Hall of Fine Arts, St. Norbert College, De Pere

“Fanfare for the Common Man” – Aaron Copland

“Appalachian Spring” – Aaron Copland

“October” – Eric Whiteacre
“Autumn” and “Winter” from “The Four Seasons” – Antonio Vivaldi, featuring Samantha George, violin 
+ Sunday, Nov. 14, 3 p.m.: “Classics for the Community”
Green Bay Community Church, 600 Cardinal Lane, Howard
“Stars & Stripes Forever” – John Philip Sousa“New World” Symphony – Antonin Dvořák“Peter and the Wolf” – Sergei  Prokofiev, featuring Kathleen Westbrook, narration
+ Saturday, Feb. 5, 7 p.m.: “Winter Dreams”
Walter Theatre, Abbot Pennings Hall of Fine Arts, St. Norbert College, De Pere

Selections for Flute Ensemble
Miroslav Pansky Memorial Concerto Competition Winners (see below)
“Winter Daydreams” Symphony – Peter Illych Tchaikovsky 
+ Sunday, April 10, 3 p.m.: “Spring is in the Air”

Walter Theatre, Abbot Pennings Hall of Fine Arts, St. Norbert College, De Pere

“Everything Beautiful in Its Time” – John Hennecken
“Spring” and “Summer” from “The Four Seasons” – Antonio Vivaldi, featuring Samantha George, violin

“Spring” Symphony – Robert Schumann


Due to COVID-19, the 2020 biennial Miroslav Pansky Memorial Concerto Competition was postponed to Nov. 6, 2021. The competition is for area college age and younger musicians. Along with cash prizes is the opportunity to perform with the Civic Symphony of Green Bay live on stage for the orchestra’s February 2022 performance.

The competition was established in 2007 by the Civic Symphony of Green Bay. The event continues as an enduring tribute to an artist who profoundly influenced the cultural life of Northeastern Wisconsin. A history of Pansky from the orchestra:

Pansky, born in 1933 in Prague, Czechoslovakia, graduated from the Prague Conservatory of Music with honors in violin, conducting and composition.  After successfully launching a conducting career and completing a period of opera study in Monte Carlo, he emigrated to the United States in 1968.  Soon afterward, he was appointed music director of the Los Angeles Congress of Strings.  

Pansky came to Green Bay in 1972 as artistic director and conductor of the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra, a long-established community ensemble. He held the post for 23 years, bringing the orchestra to an enviable level of performance.

During his tenure, Pansky also fulfilled engagements with orchestras and opera companies far from Green Bay. They included appearances as guest conductor of symphony orchestras in Milan, Sorrento and Taormina, Italy, in Athens, and in Seoul, Korea. Guest conductor commitments closer to home took him to New York, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, and Winnipeg, Canada.

In 1985, Pansky founded the Pamiro Opera. During 20 years under his direction, Pamiro Opera mounted 30 operas, providing young professionals from across the country the opportunity to perform in fully staged productions with musicians from the area.

Soon after coming to Green Bay, Pansky also organized and directed an orchestra program for school-age musicians – a youth symphony, a junior youth symphony and a string orchestra. In weekly rehearsals and regular concerts over many years, he savored the joy of nurturing talent and of engaging the energy and enthusiasm of youth. Under his guidance, scores of young musicians were inspired to persist in the path to outstanding achievement.

In the same spirit, the competition is held every two years as an integral part of the Civic Symphony of Green Bay’s educational mission. The first auditions were held in October 2008, and the two first-place winners performed as soloists with the orchestra in February 2009.

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