Appointing effective mentors to lead each section helps nurture the amateur players regarding not only how to approach the music, but also how to blend one’s sound to form a more unified ensemble. This has led the WSO to reach new heights and achievements, including earning The American Prize in 2021 for “Best Community Orchestra Performance” based on its live recording of Mahler’s First Symphony.
Just as Eric Stassen used an incremental approach to building the Orchestra’s repertoire, Maestro Wilson mapped out his early years with the orchestra by programming repertoire progressively more challenging over the three masterworks programs of a given season, concluding with the more ambitious works requiring technique developed in the earlier programs. Highlights from recent seasons have included performances of Brahms’ Fourth Symphony, Pärt’s Third Symphony, Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony, Stravinsky’s Suite from “The Firebird,” Holst’s “The Planets,” Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from “West Side Story,” Saint-Saëns’ Third “Organ” Symphony, and William Grant Still’s “Afro-American” Symphony.
For well over a decade now, the WSO has performed its annual Pops Fundraising Concert “Symphonic Masquerade” at The Paramount Theater in Charlottesville each October, and as of 2021, they have added an annual Holiday Pops Fundraising Concert in December. These events have helped grow the WSO patron base while offering a new and expansive repertoire to a wider audience.