Community Spotlight: The Columbia Orchestra

By:  Michael LaVina | Portfolio Manager & Director of Trading

In the fall of 1977, a handful of local string players in Howard County got together and formed the Columbia Chamber Orchestra.  Over the next eleven years this group grew to include winds and percussion as it evolved into a full orchestra. Since then, the Columbia Orchestra (CO) has been providing the community with high-quality musical performances, offering local youth and educators a classical music resource, and giving local musicians an opportunity to explore and perform great orchestral literature and chamber music.

In its 37th season the CO is led by conductor and cellist Jason Love, who is in his sixteenth year as musical director. In 2013, he was the winner of the American Prize for Orchestral Programming. He is also a past winner of the “Howie” award, recognizing achievement in the arts in Howard County, Maryland. Mr. Love sets the tone for the performances by engaging the audience with humor, passion, and an encyclopedic knowledge of the music. The stories of the histories behind the works are almost as engaging as the actual performances.


The orchestra performs a diverse mix of classical masterpieces and contemporary music. This season the CO is playing a repertoire that ranges from classical masterpieces like Brahms & Schumann to Symphonic Pops, a family-friendly concert bringing together hits from Broadway, the cinema, and light classics. No season with the CO would be complete without its Young Peoples Concerts. This spring they will perform Camille Saint-Saëns – Carnival of the Animals and Peter and the Wolf.  Both performances will be accompanied by dance from local artists and will give children a hands-on opportunity to play instruments at the free Musical Instrument Petting Zoo (sponsored by Music Arts).


The CO also sponsors two competitions for artists: the American Composer Competition and the Young Artist Competition. The American Composer Competition helps to promote new American works both locally and across the country. The winning artist receives recognition and a cash prize. In addition, his or her work will be performed publicly, providing the potential to build an audience for the new work. The Young Artist Competition is open to Howard County students through the twelfth grade who play string, wind, and percussion instruments. Winners have an opportunity to win a cash prize and to play with the CO. This year’s winners will perform on April 11th between performances of Schubert & Stravinsky.

BWFA is proud to continue its support of the CO this season. We invite you, too, to support this Howard County organization by attending one of their performances. The CO is offering BWFA clients $5 OFF per ticket to any concert in its 2014-15 season. To purchase tickets online, please use the discount code BWFA5 on the website, http://columbiaorchestra.org/tickets/ or call 410-465-8777.