The orchestra met for the first time, purely as a recreational group, in November 1949. Not having thoughts of a concert future, it finally named itself the South Orange Community Orchestra. SOCO was founded by the Educational Committee of the First Presbyterian and Trinity Church in South Orange.
The first appointed conductor was Marjorie Bram-MacPhillamy. From the 7 adults and 16 teenagers who met that evening "just for fun", the orchestra grew to a mature organization of spectacular size and quality. At one time, the conductor and a family group of four were interviewed by the "Voice of America" for worldwide rebroadcast.
By the November 1970 season, the name evolved to the South Orange Symphony Orchestra. Today, the orchestra provides free public concerts, consisting of 50-60 musicians, three to four times annually. The age of members range from mid-teens to retired citizens.
Our concerts consist of diverse repertoire from Baroque through Contemporary periods, and are especially convenient for senior citizens and disadvantaged patrons who wish to enjoy beautiful music in their local environment. Our annual Artist Competition selects a winner from two categories: keyboard and non-keyboard, and those winners perform with the orchestra during the season.
Many of our featured musicians and members continue on as teachers and professional performers.