Beloit, KS

Beloit Community Orchestra

Michael Harbaugh - Conductor

Mitchell County

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Beloit, KS
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        Impetus for the Beloit Community Orchestra came from the Post Rock University, the free adult education program operated through Manhattan's University for Man program in the Beloit area. In 1980, Helen Lukens Hodler, coordinator of the Post Rock University convinced Cleo Riley, 31 year music teacher in the Beloit school system before his retirement in 1977, to form the Orchestra. Riley and his wife Velva, a fine musician in her own right, convinced the musicians to pick up their long forgotten instruments and again perform in public. The musicians became an Orchestra in March 1981 and made their debut as the Beloit Community Orchestra. Today the Orchestra is an integral part of the community. Members range in age from 12 to "retirement age" and include secretaries, teachers, administrators, funeral directors, ministers as well as music teachers and students. Musicians come from as far away as Sylvan Grove and Superior, Nebraska to play.

        Christmas and Spring concerts are presented annually. Admission to the concerts are free but donations and memorials are accepted to help defray the cost of the new orchestra music.

        Michael Harbaugh, 22 year Orchestra and instrumental Music instructor in the Beloit School System, took over the baton from Cleo Riley in 1988 and continues as the conductor and musical director of the Orchestra. Maurice McDonald, retired funeral director, serves as the treasurer.

        Ensemble groups have formed from the various sections of the Beloit Community Orchestra including the Beloit String Ensemble, Beloit Brass Ensemble, Clarinet Trio, Flute Trio, and The Sound Choice Swing Band. The Beloit String Ensemble has performed for Beloit Chautauquas, River Festivals, Community Easter and Christmas Cantatas, Jr. Miss Program, Kansas Medical Society, NCKL League Band Program,Chamber of Commerce Christmas Openings, and provides Christmas music for several Beloit merchants during the holiday season.

        Community support for the Orchestra continues to be strong with good attendance at concerts. The Beloit Jr.-Sr. High School has helped by providing rehearsal and concert facilities and music in the early years. The Beloit Community Orchestra is an integral part of the string program in the Beloit public schools providing exceptional students with a Symphonic Orchestra experience.


Beloit Area Chamber of Commerce
(785) 738-2717 •
123 N. Mill · P.O. Box 582 · Beloit, KS 67420

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