Faculty, staff lend talents to Lafayette Symphony Orchestra

March 31, 2010

Phillip Fiorini (left), senior writer and editor of creative services for Purdue Marketing and Media, and Greg Buzzard, associate professor of mathematics, sit in the Long Center. Buzzard plays violin in the Lafayette Symphony Orchestra, and Fiorini serves as vice president of the LSO board of directors. (Purdue University photo/Andrew Hancock)

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The Lafayette Symphony Orchestra and Purdue University have maintained a strong connection through the musicians, board members, and patrons who are directly associated with both organizations.
This ongoing union benefits Purdue and the Lafayette-West Lafayette communities alike. Phillip Fiorini, senior writer and editor of creative services for Purdue Marketing and Media and vice president of the board of directors for LSO, sees these advantages firsthand.

"Anything in this community that is sustainable has to have a Purdue dimension to it," he says. "It's clear that including the Purdue community in every step that we [LSO] take is beneficial."
Frequent collaborations with Purdue organizations such as the Varsity Glee Club and Convocations solidify this close-knit relationship while entertaining and inspiring the community.

A focus on community outreach and education is one of the reasons Purdue employees are so willing and excited to be part of LSO, which was founded in 1950.

Cara Hines-Pham, secretary of the board of directors and residential life manager at Purdue's Shreve Hall, finds that both positions allow her to encourage community involvement to students and peers.

"I enjoy having a part in a thriving community nonprofit organization, especially watching the LSO's growth and continued success as a result of the many great things people can do as community volunteers when we all join together," Hines-Pham says.

Working on campus gives Purdue employees an advantage in attracting new audience members to the seats of the Long Center for LSO concerts.

 "I'm able to tap the pulse of the students and the younger staff and see what might resonate with them from the symphony's perspective," Fiorini says.

Although most students are not season ticket holders, single concert tickets are available at discount prices for students. With this in mind, the board hopes to incorporate some modern pieces into performances in order to expand LSO's established patronage.

In addition to the 15 Purdue employees serving the symphony as board, foundation, staff, and ex officio members, five Purdue employees currently share their talents as musicians.

Greg Buzzard, associate professor of mathematics, brings years of violin experience to the orchestra.

Having played the violin since age 9, spending one year in the Fort Wayne Philharmonic during high school, and receiving one of his undergraduate degrees in music from Michigan State University, Buzzard didn't think twice about becoming involved with LSO.

"When I moved here in 2002, I just called the symphony and said I was interested in playing," Buzzard says. "They put me in as a sub at first, and then I auditioned to become a regular member."

Although there is not much overlap between Buzzard's work at Purdue and his orchestra position, he is able to include some musical components in the classroom when teaching Fourier series, which help explain the foundations of music.

"For many people, music and mathematics may seem worlds ?apart, but at a deeper level, they are closely related," he says.  

Discount offered for April 24 concert
Purdue employees will receive a 50 percent discount on tickets for a concert titled "Tchaikovsky's Fifth" at 7:30 p.m. April 24 at the Long Center, 111 N. Sixth St., Lafayette.
    Discounted single adult ticket prices are $17.50, $16 and $10. Discounted single ticket prices for those age 65 and over are $16, $14, and $7.50.
    Tickets may be purchased at the ticket office, by phone, or online. There is an additional $2 fee for each ticket purchased online and a $3 fee for total ticket purchases over $50.
    For more information or to buy tickets, visit lafayettesymphony.org or call 742-6463.