On Tuesday March 1, 2022, the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra (WSO) was presented with the West Virginia Governor’s Award for Resiliency in the Arts at a ceremony at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. The award, which recognizes a West Virginia organization that demonstrated creative solutions and leadership in the wake of COVID-19 restrictions, was accepted on behalf of the WSO by Music Director John Devlin and Executive Director Bryan Braunlich. Randall Reid-Smith, Curator for the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, served as Master of Ceremonies. Senator Owens Brown and Delegate Erikka Storch were on hand to congratulate the WSO and the other award recipients.
“Bryan and I were very honored to accept this award on behalf of all the people who made our work possible over the last two years – our musicians, staff, Board of Directors and the entire community who supported our effort to deliver performances and educational content despite the many restrictions and obstacles that confronted our organization,” says John Devlin. “Reflecting on the last 24 months, I am often in awe of the many things our team accomplished. I am proud that we were able to offer our musicians opportunities to perform and create beautiful music at a time when many orchestras were not able to do so.”
Beginning in May of 2022, the WSO performed at least one time each month. Performances ranged from virtual and televised concerts to the WSO’s innovative SoundBites Series which combined a gourmet dining experience with a chamber orchestra concert. Executive Director Bryan Braunlich remarked that, “Though our staff was faced with many challenges, we also grew together as a team, mastered some new skills and even designed a concert series – SoundBites – that was so popular, it will continue into what we hope will be a pandemic-free future!”
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WSO Board President Roanne Burech is thankful for the support of the Wheeling and Ohio Valley communities. “We are fortunate to have devoted Board Members who support our staff and a community that continues to applaud our efforts both literally and through their generous donations,” noted Burech. “Now that we have returned to performances in the Capitol Theater, it is a true pleasure to reconnect with our family of WSO friends and supporters.”
The Governor’s Arts Awards are presented biennially to celebrate the state’s creative spirit and the amazing talents of the people and groups that produce art. They also recognize those whose willingness to support arts organizations and artists help to ensure the arts maintain an important place in our communities and schools. Through the restructuring of the Department of Arts, Culture and History in 2018, Governor Jim Justice, along with the WVDACH, continue to show their commitment to promoting and strengthening the arts in the Mountain State despite state budget cuts and the COVID-19 pandemic
ABOUT THE SYMPHONY
Wheeling Symphony Orchestra Your Community, in Concert
Celebrating over 90 years of serving the Ohio Valley with great live orchestral music. From subscription concerts and holiday spectacular events to chamber series and educational concerts, the Wheeling Symphony provides world-class musical entertainment throughout the Ohio Valley. Led by Music Director John Devlin, the WSO continues to be the smallest city in the US to support a symphony of this size and caliber.