Spreading The Magic Of Music
With its programs for young people, the IRSA has become a major contributor to the local cultural scene.
The Brevard Symphony, conducted by Christopher Confessore, has played a key role in IRSA’s programming since the beginning. As Confessore says, “We consider the IRSA series to be our ‘home away from home’ and are honored to be presented alongside the world’s leading orchestras.”
Penny Odiorne can’t wait for the evening of November 20. Circled in red on her calendar the date marks the Indian River Symphonic Association’s season-opening concert. The woman who spearheaded the drive to bring quality symphonic performances to the community 17 years ago wouldn’t miss it for the world.
When you want to know about IRSA’s beginning and how it has blossomed over the years, Penny is the person to go to. As founding president and unofficial historian she has documented the nonprofit organization’s past with scrapbooks filled with photographs and newspaper articles, minutes from meetings and programs from every performance.
“I’m an old schoolteacher – I never throw anything away,” she muses, patting the side of a stuffed tote bag. “Actually, I just fell into the whole thing. Before we moved to Vero Beach my husband Ray and I lived near New York City and we would go to concerts there all the time. When we settled here we started going to the Brevard Symphony Orchestra with friends who lived in Indialantic. One of them was on the BSO board and he spoke to me about the possibility of the orchestra coming to Vero to perform. I then spoke with Ray Adams, music director at Community Church at that time, and he said go for it.”
As the idea began to take shape Penny made up a list of people she felt would be interested in supporting such an endeavor. One of them was Roman Ortega-Cowan, a renowned singer and current artistic director of the Vero Beach Opera Guild. “Roman urged us not to be just an adjunct association but to form our own 501 (c) 3 organization, and he undertook the challenge to secure a corporate charter for us.”
Read the entire article in the November 2011 issue