Page 11 - A short history of the Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra
P. 11

During Lyall's tenure, the composition of ORSO changed from a majority of avocational players to about a 50% professional assistance level (which was really needed to perform the larger, more difficult works).
Lyall notified ORCMA at the end of the 1988–89 season (one year in advance) that he would resign as conductor of both the Oak Ridge and Victoria, TX symphonies at the end of the 1989–90 season when he would become the director of the Grand Rapids Opera in addition to the Knoxville Opera. (He had been the founder and first conductor of the Victoria, TX Symphony before arriving in Oak Ridge). Lyall, during his tenure as conductor, expanded the limits of the orchestra's abilities.
In the spring of 1990, the orchestra board selected John Welsh as its new musical conductor after the top two candidates refused to live in Oak Ridge. They had wanted to use the ORSO as a second orchestra and come here on a part-time basis. Welsh had conducted the U.S. Army Band while in the service and had also gained orchestral experience with the Washington Chamber Orchestra. Mike Silverman, who had voluntarily served as personnel manager for ORSO for ten years with Robert Lyall (1980–90), continued for the 1990–91 season under Welsh to help him make the transition. When Welsh wanted the personnel manager to be directly responsible to him, Silverman resigned and subsequent personnel managers were paid for their services.
Welsh's first season had been essentially arranged by Robert Lyall. In subsequent years Welsh used two local soloists, Holly Marable (violin) and Carla Yust (cello), and, in addition, friends of his, Enrique Graf (piano), Daisy Jackson (soprano), Zuill Bailey (cellist), all competent soloists.
Welsh performed diverse programs usually with definite themes.

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