The roots of the Jefferson City Symphony Orchestra and the Jefferson City Community Concert series extend to 1923 and a performance by a small ensemble of local musicians at the First Baptist Church. The group gradually grew to become the “Little Symphony” of Jefferson City. It disbanded when many of its members joined the military for World War II. But it was not forgotten.
In 1948, three people—Lucile Turner, Bob Mansur, and Lawrence Woodman--reorganized the group as the Jefferson City Civic Orchestra. Carl Burkel conducted its first concert in November, 1950 at what is now the Central United Church of Christ.
About that same time, the Civic Music Club proposed a concert series that would include the Civic Orchestra’s performances. When Civic Music could not agree to a merger proposed by the Civic Orchestra, the orchestra turned to a New York management group that promoted Community Concert Associations throughout the nation.
Columbia Artists Management, Inc. accepted the plan to have orchestra concerts as part of the Jefferson City Community Concert Series. After a trial period beginning in 1953, the now-Jefferson City Symphony Orchestra became a permanent part of the Community Concerts schedule. The relationship of the JCCCA and the JCSO was unique within the Columbia Artists Management operation. Except for Jefferson City, Columbia Artists Management dealt only with professional orchestras and professional arts organizations.
Burkel formed the Jefferson City Symphony Chorus in 1983 to perform with the Orchestra in its November concert. After Burkel’s death, Dr. John Taylor was the conductor of the JCSO from the spring of 1996 through 1997. J. Patrick Healey conducted the orchestra from 1998 through the November, 1999 concert. Dr. Steven Houser took over in February, 2000 and has led the orchestra since.
When Columbia Artist Management dissolved its Community Concert Associations, the Jefferson City organization quickly assumed responsibility for booking its own performers by dealing directly with artists or their agents.
The Jefferson City Community Concert Association maintains its original goal of providing audiences with quality entertainment at reasonable prices and of being the primary support organization for the Jefferson City Symphony Orchestra. Our membership dues continue to be among the lowest in the country, thanks to the generous support of our sponsors and patrons who believe that the quality of life in our community is greater because all of us do our parts to continue the tradition of live performances begun by that small ensemble in 1923.
Thank you for joining us in this great Jefferson City musical tradition. Enjoy the performance!
The Jefferson City Concert Association