5 Reasons to Run the Beethoven 5k

Our annual Beethoven 5k is right around the corner, and we don’t want you to miss out on one of the most fun events all summer! With the warm weather in full swing, opportunities abound for families to get out and get active in our community. So why run the Beethoven 5k, you might ask? Check out these 5 reasons why the Beethoven 5k is different from other summer activities:

It’s perfect for the whole family. No, really! In addition to the 5k run, we also have a 1-mile walk that’s perfect for young children and everyone else! Plus, starting at 8 AM means it’s safer to bring the little ones out due to cooler morning temperatures.

It combines art with exercise. Not really into running but love a good classical piece? Not into music but love running? Because the 5k combines these two seemingly different elements, we attract a wide range of audiences. It’s the perfect community event because it brings together people with different interests around a common cause.

You get local swag. We are so grateful for our community partners that have generously donated gift cards, swag, and more to make this race special for our runners! We are excited to connect our runners to local businesses that make Westerville what it is.


You get to explore Westerville! Runners will explore the streets of historic Westerville, seeing all the wonderful charm that our city has to offer! The lovely scenery make this 5k unique–there’s no place like Westerville!

It supports a small organization IN your community. All proceeds benefit the Westerville Symphony, a nonprofit directly providing programming for you and your family. By running, you have a direct impact on the programming we are able to provide and the quality of that programming. Talk about a runner’s high!

We hope you will join us! Register for the Beethoven 5k today at runsignup.com/beethoven5k OR sign up to volunteer by emailing Kelsie Fields at fields.436@osu.edu.


How to Enjoy the Symphony

To the untrained ear, classical music may seem distant and hard to connect with. Often people think that to enjoy the symphony, you must have certain qualifications, experience, or knowledge. The truth is, however, that anyone can enjoy the symphony. All it takes is practice, exposure, and ultimately, a desire to connect. Below are some practical tips on how to enjoy the symphony and make the most out of your classical music experiences.

Familiarize yourself with the music. Renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman advises listening to the pieces beforehand and familiarizing yourself with the concertos before attending the symphony. By doing this, you will be able to recognize some of the pieces during the performance which will allow you to feel more comfortable. Additionally, you will be able to better focus on specific aspects of the music because you will have already heard the piece in its entirety (and won’t be too surprised by any of its movements). (Source).

Find an emotion. Benjamin Carlson, a writer for The Atlantic, suggests attributing a specific emotion to the concertos. He says to actually choose a word that describes the piece and the emotions you infer from it, whether it be loneliness, passion, or laughter. (Source).

Be choosy. As Carlson also points out, “The point is to make the music yours.” Take time to find out what you like and don’t like. All classical music is not the same, so be willing to listen to classical music from a variety of composers, styles, and periods. (Source).

Find music that has a libretto. If you’re like me, you love to hear not only the music itself, but the lyrics that often accompany music as well. While classical music certainly doesn’t need lyrics to be appreciated, it may help you connect with the music, especially if it is your first time hearing the piece. Many composers worked with librettists to create librettos, essentially “lyrics”, to accompany their classical works, and these librettos can add another layer of enjoyment and depth to a musical piece.

Be Patient. Like fine wine, a taste for classical music is acquired over time. “In my experience, it’s natural to expect the best pieces to take six or more listens to grasp,” Carlson writes. Be patient with both the music and yourself. Gradually expose yourself to new composers and styles, and understand that you won’t enjoy every piece you ever listen to. But with time, you may just find some you love, connect with, and want to listen to over and over again. Classical music has been around for hundreds of years, so you won’t be the first to wrestle with it, and you certainly won’t be the last.

O say can you see….

This Sunday, July 2nd, the Westerville Symphony will host the annual Sounds of Freedom concert at Alum Creek Park Amphitheater. This concert is part of the City of Westerville’s Community Concert Series and is sponsored in part by the City of Westerville. Join us for a celebration of music, life, and liberty, and make sure to bring your picnic blankets and lawn chairs!

Amphitheatre Image

Our conductor, Peter Stafford Wilson, has put together an exciting show of popular patriotic numbers that are sure to inspire including the Armed Forces Salute, Morton Gould’s American Salute, John Williams’s Liberty Fanfare, a tribute to Leroy Anderson, and, of course, some Sousa marches. We will also be playing a medley of tunes from Richard Rodgers’s score to Victory at Sea, which was one of the first television mini series documenting the Allied victory in the Pacific during WWII.

This concert is different from other Westerville Symphony concerts because of its patriotic flavor and recognizable tunes! The outdoor atmosphere makes it more relaxed and is the perfect place for a family night out.

In Peter Stafford Wilson’s own words, “There is nothing like John Phillip Sousa, or John Williams to stir feelings of patriotism and national pride.  Music plays an important role in celebrations, and celebrating our independence is no exception.”

Music moves each of us in different ways, and this performance is sure to be exciting. Admission is free and open to the public so make sure to bring your family and friends!

For more info, visit westervillesymphony.org.

Meet our Summer Fellow, Kelsie Fields!

This summer, the Westerville Symphony is participating in The Columbus Foundation’s Summer Fellowship Program, and we want to take this opportunity to introduce you to our fellow, Kelsie Fields! The Fellowship Program places accepted students with various local nonprofits to design and complete projects for their respective organizations. Kelsie will specifically be working on the Beethoven 5k this summer and leading the marketing, planning, and development efforts related to the event.

Kelsie is a recent graduate from Ohio State who studied International Development, Italian, and Nonprofit Organizations. She is passionate about international issues and enjoys connecting people to meaningful experiences. We asked her a few questions to help you get to know her better, which you can read below:


Westerville Symphony: So, Kelsie–do you play any instruments?

Kelsie Fields: Well, no, actually. I have taught myself a few instruments here and there, but I don’t really play anymore. I do love music, though! Especially singer-songwriter music.

WS: What are your goals for this fellowship?

KF: I hope to use these 10 weeks to really refine some raw skills I have pertaining to nonprofit work, such as graphic and web design and donor relations and stewardship.

WS: How does this fellowship at the Westerville Symphony tie into your career goals?

KF: This fellowship relates to my career goals in many ways. For starters, I am working with The Columbus Foundation, and looking to the future. I see myself working at a large foundation, so all that I am learning from the foundation will be especially relevant. Additionally, I am learning specific skills from Sean, the Executive Director, that I will be able to use at any nonprofit I work for in the future, no matter the field.

WS: What is your favorite thing about Columbus?

KF: Tough question! Columbus is such a special place because it has so much to offer to anyone that is open to exploring. The community here is thriving, and it exists somewhat independently from the Ohio State scene. It’s not a college town, and I really love that about Columbus.

WS: What are you most looking forward to this summer?

KF: I am really looking forward to the Sounds of Freedom concert next week because I have never experienced the symphony outdoors, and I am excited to learn more about what exactly goes into an orchestral performance!


If you’re interested in following along with Kelsie’s and the fellows’ projects over the next 7 weeks, check out The Columbus Foundation fellows blog!


Welcome to the Westerville Symphony!

As we enter our 35th season here at the Westerville Symphony, we want to take some time to share with our new patrons and followers who we are and what’s on the horizon for the coming season.

For those of you reading who are familiar with the Westerville Symphony’s history, we are grateful that you have been a part of our journey. For those who are new to the Westerville Symphony, we are delighted that you are interested in learning more about who we are!

Who we are:

Simply put, the Westerville Symphony has a long history of music, collaboration, and community engagement that was started in 1983. The Westerville Symphony brings together over 80 professional musicians, semi-professional musicians, and orchestra students at Otterbein University.

Throughout the year, we have a number of exciting events including our Sounds of Freedom, Sounds of Summer, and Sounds of the Season community concerts. We also are thrilled to host Masterworks concerts three times a year. These unique symphonic programs are designed to inspire admiration for great standards of the classical repertoire.

Why we’re different:

The Westerville Symphony at Otterbein University provides exemplary symphonic performances to audiences in central Ohio, and music education in Westerville and surrounding communities. We are different than other symphonic organizations in Central Ohio through our unique collaboration between faculty, students, and professional musicians. The Westerville Symphony is partnered with Otterbein University in order to provide first class symphonic performances to the public all the while training the next generation of orchestral musicians.

In addition to our symphonic performances and community concerts, we also organize fun, community-centered events such as Tunes & Tales, the annual Beethoven 5k, and the Westerville Community Bowl-A-Thon. These events draw in new and diverse audiences and inspire an appreciation and engagement with symphonic music.

About the blog:

We hope that this blog will provide a new opportunity for our patrons and other community members to stay up-to-date with all the latest happenings at the Westerville Symphony. Additionally, we hope to give you a look into the inner workings of the Symphony and help you get to know the talented musicians, board members, and staff that make us who we are. Stay tuned for more updates and thanks for reading!