Published in the September 15, 2017 edition

MAYOR ROB DOLAN takes a selfie as he stands in briefly as conductor during the Melrose Symphony’s 100th anniversary concert at Morelli Field Saturday, September 9. (Photo by TDM Photography)


General Manager

Melrose Symphony Orchestra

MELROSE — Over 5,000 residents from Melrose and surrounding areas gathered on Morelli baseball field Saturday evening to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the nation’s oldest, all-volunteer orchestra — our very own Melrose Symphony Orchestra.

The field was covered in a sea of blankets and lawn chairs spilling over into the adjacent football field; children danced and waved light sabers as the orchestra played music from Star Wars; even the mayor made his conducting debut, pausing only to take a selfie onstage with the orchestra.

The weather was perfect, just as Mayor Dolan promised, and the evening was capped off with a spectacular 20-minute fireworks display which left residents buzzing with excitement. Audience members took to Facebook, sharing their photos and accolades of the event: “The performance and fireworks just blew us all away — exceeded any of our expectations by a hundred and then some — wow, wow, wow — thank you and congratulations!” “I’ve lived in Melrose all my life – this was probably the best community event ever!”

Conductor Yoichi Udagawa was awarded the key to the city, only the second non-Melrose resident in history, for his 20-year tenure as the orchestra’s Music Director. State Representative Paul Brodeur presented the orchestra with a Resolution from the House of Representatives to mark the anniversary season.

Maestro Udagawa commented, “The musicians of the Melrose Symphony and I were thrilled to be able to share an evening of great music and fireworks with the community. The people of Melrose have enthusiastically supported the orchestra for 100 years, and we are truly grateful. Thank you!”

It was a milestone event in the works for over five years, costing nearly $70,000 for the special evening. The Mayor’s Office, Department of Public Works, Parks Department, and Fire and Police Departments ensured every detail was perfect for the event. Key sponsors included the Melrose Bank Foundation, Melrose Rotary Club, Melrose Messina Fund for the Arts, Waste Management Services, Hallmark Health Medical Associates, and The Maurer Family Foundation. Without their continous philanthropic support, these historic community celebrations would not be possible.

While the Melrose Symphony can’t promise this event will ever be repeated, one thing is for certain: not only is the community lucky to have such a fantastic orchestra, the orchestra is equally as lucky to be a part of such a special community.