Sunday Sinfonia Orchestra is an community orchestra under the direction of Simon Maurer. Our mission is to produce quality music, help musicians reach their highest level, and bring the joy of music to others.
The Sunday Sinfonia Orchestra originated in 2010 as the "Sinfonia Orchestra" at the Pennsylvania Academy of Music (PAM) in Lancaster, PA. Founded by Simon Maurer and one of his students, Gail Frederick, the goal was to provide a place for adult community members to play in a casual orchestra. The orchestra at that time was divided into Chamber Music and String Orchestra, with rehearsals split between the two styles. Sinfonia Orchestra played free concerts at local retirement homes.
In 2011, shortly after the orchestra began, the PAM closed its doors forever, leaving the orchestra members no place to rehearse. One of the members found the group a new home at her church. Practices were held on Sunday afternoons, and the orchestra was renamed "Sunday Sinfonia Orchestra."
SSO has had several rehearsal homes over the years, usually in churches in and around the Lancaster area. Due to these geographical changes, members have come and gone, but despite the fluctuations in membership, the orchestra has maintained an average of 30 players ranging in age from 10 to 80 years.
In 2015, SSO reached out to Albright College in Reading, PA, and suggested a collaboration with the Center for the Arts Music Department at the college. Once the paperwork was settled, the orchestra moved its base to Reading and became Sunday Sinfonia at Albright. The Fall 2016 season was the combined group's first concert, with the addition of ten Albright students rounding out all five string sections. The partnership with Albright has been a boon to the orchestra, and has given Albright students a wonderful opportunity to make music with players from all over the Southeastern PA region.
Through all the changes in the orchestra, some things remain constant. SSO is still led by Music Director Simon Maurer, now with help from Assistant Conductor Dana Weiderhold, Albright's Director for the String Chamber Orchestra class. It has maintained its vision of producing quality music, encouraging musicians to reach their highest potential, and bringing the joy of music to the community. The orchestra still provides free concerts at retirement homes, and continues to improve its ability to play ever more challenging music, creating a repertoire that draws on classical, baroque, modern, impressionism, and show tunes.
The Reading Eagle wrote a lovely article about us in the November 26, 2018 edition, that captures our essence and our history very well.