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Traverse Symphony Orchestra announces new name, additional support for new music center

On June 1, the Traverse Symphony Orchestra will become the Traverse City Philharmonic.

Effective June 1, the Traverse Symphony Orchestra will become the Traverse City Philharmonic, a name they say more effectively encompasses their programming and mission.

The Traverse Symphony Orchestra is getting a new name to go along with its new future home.

On June 1, the organization will become the Traverse City Philharmonic, or TC Phil for short.

"We offer so much more than orchestra concerts now," TSO Executive Director Kedrik Merwin told IPR. "With this name change, we're setting a course for the future to reflect our broader and more robust offerings for the community."

TSO Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Kevin Rhodes announced the change on Sunday afternoon. He spoke from the stage of Interlochen's Corson Auditorium before the orchestra performed an all-Bach program.

"For this new future, which bears so little resemblance to the past, we decided we needed to make a philosophical break with the past," Rhodes told the audience.

The name change will also be reflected in the organization's new home, slated to open in September of this year.

Rendering of new Traverse City Philharmonic Center by Cornerstone Architects. Image courtesy the Traverse Symphony Orchestra/Traverse City Philharmonic.
Rendering of new Traverse City Philharmonic Center by Cornerstone Architects. Image courtesy the Traverse Symphony Orchestra/Traverse City Philharmonic.

The Traverse City Philharmonic Center will be located in the former Kmart at Cherryland Mall in Traverse City.

The building will house offices, classrooms, lesson spaces and a rehearsal hall. This committed space will allow the TSO/TC Phil to increase their existing program offerings while adding new programs.

These will include Suzuki lessons for children, parent and baby classes and private lessons and ensemble opportunities for students of many ages and abilities.

On Sunday, the TSO also announced it was the recipient of $500,000 from the Desk Drawer Fund, MSU Federal Credit Union’s foundation.

A new 4,800-square-foot rehearsal space in the Traverse City Philharmonic Center will be named the Desk Drawer Fund Rehearsal Hall. This rehearsal space will accommodate rehearsals for all of the organization's ensembles while also providing a recital space with seating for approximately 200 people.

Founded in 1952 by Elnora Milliken as the Northwestern Michigan Symphony Orchestra, the orchestra was originally made up of a small group of volunteer musicians from the community.

Now, the Traverse Symphony Orchestra's membership includes about 60 professional musicians. The organization has grown to include civic ensembles, community education programs, jazz ensembles, chamber music recitals and more.

"I just know wherever our founder Elnora Milliken is, she is smiling and dancing a happy dance," Rhodes told the audience on Sunday.

Dr. Amanda Sewell is IPR's music director.