One of St. Augustine’s longest running cultural entities; St. Augustine Orchestra (SAO) is a foundation of cultural, artistic and historic legacy in St. Augustine and St. Johns County. With over 50 volunteer members who’s motivation for participation in SAO is a love of music and the joy of sharing that love with the public. Through the years, the orchestra has given the community their best musical efforts. The result has been a continued, fine tradition and an increasingly sophisticated level of performance.
Guided by the mission to expand awareness and music appreciation, the SAO approach is to provide quality live performances at an affordable cost to the community, to provide outreach programs to seniors and youths, as well as to offer educational opportunities to budding and prospective musicians. Each SAO program carries a theme which aims to inform, enlighten and entertain audiences.
With the many nearby notable institutions such as Jacksonville University, the University of North Florida, and Stetson University, each offering undergraduate degrees in music, SAO is privileged to have a pool of young talented soloists participating in the orchestra, furthering SAO’s mission to challenge and inspire local youth in music careers.
SAO invites local musicians meeting minimum capability standards willing to devote time for weekly rehearsals to join. Members range from 13 to 80 years of age including professionals, music teachers, business leaders, retirees, music amateurs and accomplished students. SAO also encourages other musicians to play with the orchestra; we have sponsored solo vocalists and musicians, groups of single instruments, choruses, and small instrumental groups to participate in our programs.
SAO relies on both corporate and individual sponsorships that include program advertising, to offset musical production costs in addition to funding music education programs. Corporate and individual sponsors can take pride in supporting local musicians providing a valued program of performing arts and supplementing youth instrumental instruction and performance opportunities.
Won’t you or your company support the local arts community while adding value to educational outreach programs by becoming a valued SAO sponsor?
History of the St. Augustine Orchestra
The St. Augustine Orchestra was founded in 1961 by Jack Van Brederode who served as conductor for several years. Originally called the St. Augustine Symphonette, the ensemble went through a number of name changes, finally settling on the St. Augustine Orchestra (SAO). After Van Brederode’s death, Kenneth Hueninck became conductor followed by David Middleton, William Turnbull, James Peronto, Ramona Peronto, Ira Strauss, John Bush, and from 2010-2016, William McNeiland. The current conductor, Maestro Scott Gregg, took the helm of SAO in the fall of 2016 and continues to guide the group to new musical heights.