The Board of Directors of the Port Angeles Symphony has awarded the 2012 Biz Gehrke Award to Fred Thompson.
In 1984, the Board of Directors of the Port Angeles Symphony established the annual Biz Gehrke Award to honor a person (or persons) each year who made an outstanding contribution to the Symphony.
In keeping with the stated guideline for the award -“Presented to a person whose dedication to and support of the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra typifies that of the organization’s co-founder and initial guiding force…Ernest R. (Biz) Gehrke, the Symphony’s Board of Directors were excited to be able to recognize Fred for his many contributions to the orchestra over the years.
A native of Minnesota, Fred Thompson began studying cello at age seven. In his high school years he attended Interlochen National Music Camp (MI) and performed with the Eau Claire (WI) symphony after winning a concerto competition. At Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota and then at the University of Utah he studied English and music. After teaching in central Utah for four years, he took a position teaching English and Humanities at Peninsula College. In 1989-1990 the Thompsons lived in London, England where Fred studied English literature at the University of London. In 1996 he attended a three-week chamber music workshop in Orvieto, Italy. His second sabbatical focused on the poetry of John Keats and music of Beethoven. While at Peninsula College Dr. Thompson led five study abroad tours. Besides being a long-time player in the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra in which he was principal cello, Fred was active as an area recitalist and chamber musician. Fred and his wife Jean now live in Portland, Oregon.
HISTORY OF THE PORT ANGELES SYMPHONY:
The Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra provides performers and the public of the North Olympic Peninsula an opportunity to enjoy, participate and grow through the enriching experience of quality, live music. The Symphony is a volunteer orchestra of 80 members who donate over 20,000 hours annually to the community.
From its beginning in 1932 as a few fiddlers and horn players doing light opera and Sousa marches in each other’s homes has become today’s award-winning orchestra. The symphony is led by a professional conductor in an ambitious concert schedule, outreach programs and international tours.
The dedicated players currently volunteering their skills come from as far as Forks to the west and Port Ludlow to the east. A governing board of directors meets regularly throughout the year to oversee the business and financial needs of such a large enterprise. Volunteers contribute many hours of labor to sell tickets, raise funds, and support the productions. The Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra is a member of the League of American Orchestras and was awarded a Presidential Commendation and the Governor’s Art Award in 1986. The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers has made several awards to the orchestra for the programming of American music.
Mark Wendeborn, Executive Director
Adam Stern, Music Director/Conductor