Music is the Tie That Binds
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Our Mission

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.

Our History

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.

Spotlight On

Ren Anderson, Abecedarian

Photo of Ren Anderson

Instrument: Viola

After spending her early adulthood traveling the world- Ren Anderson settled near her family's ancestral home in Exeter Township, Pennsylvania with her husband, Eddie and their large family of rescue animals. Ren is one of the few recognized, degree-holding chaplains of the Asatru faith and splits her time outside of orchestras between writing freelance editorials, creating textile art, and donating her time to the Heathen/Pagan community by providing grief and crisis support as well as providing online resources to people new to exploring their pagan roots. She holds BA degrees in Philosophy and Theology from Moravian College with a focus in linguistics and International Studies.

Why did you join SSO?
I really enjoyed the music and saw SSO as a great way to improve as a musician.
What do you like best about SSO?
The music is just so beautiful that even though I still have a great deal to learn and miss notes often that I am not discouraged. I enjoy being apart of a group where every piece of music invokes frisson- that sensation is difficult to chase.
How has playing in SSO affected your life for the better?
My musicianship has definitely improved in the short time I have been involved with the SSO- I find I am voluntarily practicing more now than I did prior to joining. It helps to be excited to learn the music.
Have you played in any other groups?
This is my second year playing for the Reading Philharmonic Orchestra and I also play for the Allentown RTO as time permits. I currently serve as a board member for the Philharmonic.
What's your favorite non-music pastime?
Watching the entire works of David Lynch with my husband and our cats-I even painted my basement to resemble the black lodge from Twin Peaks!
What super power would you like to have?
Selective Omniscience: that I would know everything possible to have the happiest and most purposeful life I can, but not enough excess knowledge to drive me to gibbering madness.
What inspires you?
I really love listening to playlists that evoke positive memories or beautiful emotions- music often inspires me to write while drawing my attention away from my anxieties.
What do you like to do outside?
I like to sit on our wooden swing by the creek and brush out my husky on nice days- I also enjoy hiking local trails.
What's your favorite sport?
I used to pole-vault and really enjoyed it when I was younger. As a concept, I like the idea of parkour but I never had the coordination for it.
What is your life motto?
You can only do the best you can with the skills and information you have available at the given moment.
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