We believe the arts express the essence of what it means to be fully human. The Lancaster Festival celebrates the artistic creativity of all cultures, serving as the foundation of year-round community efforts to nurture participation in the arts.

     • Promote the artistic growth and outreach of the Lancaster Festival         Orchestra as the cornerstone of classical music programming.

• Maintain the highest quality in all aspects of the Festival, while    encouraging experimentation and adventure.

• Support and offer visibility for community artists.

• Be all-inclusive in our appeal to the community.

• Be an advocate of arts education for all children.

• Nurture the sense of family, community and homecoming in the  Festival.

• Create a dynamic organization that will sustain and grow the Festival    into the future.

• Stimulate economic development in the community.

• Make the Lancaster Festival a nationally visible signature of the    community.

Adopted by the Lancaster Festival Board of Directors on April 20, 1999.

On August 5, 1984, The Columbus Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Music Director Christian Badea, presented a Picnic and Pops concert at Ohio University-Lancaster. This was the first concert held at OU-L's outdoor auditorium.

The Lancaster Festival was inaugurated in 1985, under the artistic direction...


of Maestro Badea. Artistic Advisor Al Romano was joined by Festival Managers Eleanor Hood and Barbara Hunzicker in planning the event. The '85 Festival had a 8 day run and included two CSO symphony concerts, a CSO chamber concert at St. Mary Church, and a week full of community arts and music events. The '85 Festival concluded with a memorable live battle reenactment on the hills above the OU-L Amphitheatre, accompanied by the CSO performing Beethoven's "Wellington's Victory."

The Festival was extended to 10 days in 1986 and 1987, adding more performance locations throughout the city and expanding the programming for families and children. In the Fall of 1987, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra management made the decision to withdraw from the Lancaster Festival to establish its own Picnic & Pops series. Maestro Gary Sheldon was hired as music director and, after auditioning more than 300 professional musicians, created the Lancaster Festival Orchestra.

The Lancaster Festival Orchestra performed its first concert on Saturday, July 23, 1988, beginning the evening with Glinka's 'Overture to Russlan & Ludmilla'. That evening's concert also included a special narration of John William's 'Suite from "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"' by Christopher Reeve.

From the whirlwind beginning in 1985, through its re-organization in 1988, the Lancaster Festival and its orchestra have garnered increasing recognition for excellence. For 10 days in July, the city is transformed, the streets alive with people enjoying the Festival's all-inclusive offerings.

Click here for more history at the Lancaster Festival Pressroom including the Festival Timeline, Background, Press Photos, and Articles.

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