Blue Ash Montgomery Symphony Orchestra

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The Blue Ash Montgomery Symphony Orchestra is an American orchestra based in Blue Ash, Ohio, a northeastern suburb of Cincinnati. It was founded in 1987 as the Blue Ash Symphony Orchestra by Paul Stanbery,[1] who was also its first conductor. The first concert took place on July 5, 1987.

In 2002, the orchestra became the Blue Ash Montgomery Symphony Orchestra. Blue Ash and Montgomery, a neighboring suburb of Cincinnati, provide operating support in equal amounts. Additional funding comes from Arts Wave of Greater Cincinnati,[2] from various charitable foundations in the region, corporate and patron sponsorships and program advertising.


The orchestra comprises 40-50 professional musicians, all members of the American Federation of Musicians, hired on a free lance basis. Concerts are presented free of charge. There are four to five concerts annually, including outdoor concerts on Labor Day,[3] Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.[4] The Kindel Memorial Holiday Concert is performed in December and a Valentine's Day concert in February. Concerts take place in Blue Ash Towne Center, Montgomery Park and area churches and schools. The orchestra also performs concerts outside their normal season, e.g. to celebrate the dedication of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati in 2004 and at outreach concerts on the grounds of the Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Stanbery was succeeded as conductor in 2002 by Michael Chertock,[5] principal keyboardist of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and assistant professor of piano at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Chertock is also organist at St. Barnabas Church in Montgomery, artistic director of the Linton Chamber Music Series’ Peanut Butter and Jam Sessions for children and a composer.


BAMSO sponsors an annual concerto competition for local student musicians. Students compete in four categories: strings, keyboard, other acoustic instruments and musicians 13 and under. Winners receive cash awards and performance opportunities with the orchestra.

Board of Directors[edit]

The orchestra is governed by a 12-member board. Business manager is L. Susan Pace. Orchestra activities are supported by a volunteer guild of interested citizens. There is also an advisory board and an honorary board comprising supporters of the organization.


BAMSO performance repertoire is wide-ranging, from seasonal and patriotic favorites, to classical and popular music. The orchestra has premiered numerous works, including Chertock’s “Freedom’s Torch” for baritone and string orchestra on a modern text from the Hannukah liturgy in December, 2002 and arias from Evan Mack’s opera “Angel of the Amazon” in September, 2010. Soloists come from inside and outside the community and have included Bernadette Peters, Peter Cetera, flutist Randolph Bowman, soprano Kara Shay Thompson, mezzo-soprano Catherine Fishlock, baritone William Henry Caldwell, the Cincinnati Boychoir and violinist Timothy Schwarz.


The Blue Ash Montgomery Symphony Orchestra is a charter member of the Chamber Music Network of Greater Cincinnati. The Blue Ash Youth Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1991 by Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra violinist James Braid, is an autonomous organization comprising area young people in grades 7 through 12. Current conductor is Dale Swisher. The BAYSO performs with BAMSO on its annual Memorial Day Concert.


The mission of the Blue Ash Montgomery Symphony Orchestra is “to provide the citizens of Blue Ash, Montgomery and surrounding areas with an enjoyable, affordable, quality music experience for audiences of all ages.” [6]


  1. ^ “Stanbery Takes Up Baton Again,” Ginny Hunter, The Cincinnati Post, Feb. 23, 1995.
  2. ^ “Fine Arts Fund Awards 27 Grants,” Post staff report, The Cincinnati Post, Aug. 5, 2005.
  3. ^ “Taste End of Summer in Blue Ash,” Connie Yeager, The Cincinnati Post, Aug. 23, 2007.
  4. ^ “Music Outdoors Plentiful: Overtures to Outer Space,” Mary Ellyn Hutton, The Cincinnati Post, Sept. 1, 2005.
  5. ^ “Pianist-Composer at Home in Cincinnati,” Mary Ellyn Hutton, The Cincinnati Post, April 16, 2004.
  6. ^ “Blue Ash, Montgomery Benefit from Efforts,” Sheila McLaughlin, The Cincinnati Enquirer, Oct. 7, 2003.

External links[edit]