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Johnstown Magazine

Johnstown Symphony Orchestra

The city's hidden gem.

By Dianne DeLisa

Name the first symphony orchestra that comes to mind.

If you're like most people in this country, you probably said the Boston Pops, which is unofficially dubbed "America's Orchestra." Now that you're thinking of the Boston Pops, you might recall that the orchestra's conductor, Keith Lockhart, was a vibrant 35-year-old when he was passed the baton from John Williams in Boston in 1995. But you might not know that the highly successful Lockhart has a strong connection to the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra (JSO) through our maestro, Istvan Jaray.

That high-profile connection isn't the only surprising highlight of our JSO. In fact, Maestro Jaray calls it “an absolute miracle” that the orchestra survived for more than 80 years. "How many times did we lose a hockey team, a baseball team, etc., but we didn't lose our symphony," Jaray says. "That's what I call the miracle - the city should be proud that it maintained this cultural institution all these years."

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