Volunteer musicians of all ages play in the Civic Symphony of Green Bay. They are professional musicians and amateurs from all walks of life, drawn together by the love of great symphonic music and the desire to share it with others. Members from the Green Bay area are joined in the orchestra by others from many communities of Northeastern Wisconsin. Under the baton of Seong-Kyung Graham, the orchestra typically offers a season of four evening concerts including a "family concert" that is also presented during the day for students from area schools. Since the beginning of the 2006-2007 season the Civic Symphony has performed all its concerts at the Meyer Theatre in downtown Green Bay.
The Civic Symphony was founded in 1995 through the efforts of a committee headed by Gerald Mattern of the St. Norbert College music faculty. A number of community musicians were already playing in a string ensemble which Mattern had organized to join his band members in performing music from the orchestral repertoire. With Mattern's group as a nucleus and financial support from Don Poh, a Green Bay businessman and musician, the orchestra was born. Rehearsals began in the fall of 1995, with prospective leaders serving as guest conductors. In November that year the musicians overwhelmingly chose Dr.Patrick Miles as the first conductor and artistic director of the Civic Symphony. Miles was director of orchestral activities and horn professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. The orchestra, under Miles, presented its first public concert on January 27, 1996, in the Ralph Holter Auditorium of West High School. Miles continued as conductor for ten years, retiring after the final concert of the 2004-2005 season.
Seong-Kyung Graham was appointed conductor and artistic director in 2005 after serving as a guest conductor of the orchestra in December 2004.
With a small group of dedicated musicians, I helped form the Civic Symphony. As a retired college music professor, I am able to remain active in the trumpet section. I feel privileged to play along side some truly wonderful and dedicated talented local musicians. I am a firm believer that music is the bread of life and the truest venue for loving communication. I am proud of what the GBCS has grown to be. The GBCS is a special group of people…organized by musicians for the musicians. I'm so thrilled to see it continue to blossom and grow.
- Gerry Mattern, Founding member of CS, Current Member and Retired Music Educator