Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra to Celebrate 20th Anniversary with Brahms and Tessa Lark

Written by jspangler on May 6, 2017

Music, Gettysburg! presents the Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra in an all Brahms concert Sunday, May 14, 2017 at 4:00 pm in the Chapel of the Gettysburg Seminary. The concert marks the 20th anniversary of the Chamber Orchestra (GCO) and will feature violinist Tessa Lark performing Brahms’ Violin Concerto. The concert will also include his Symphony No. 2.

The GCO, under the baton of Norman Nunamaker, and managed by Carolyn Nunamaker, have perfected and captured a beautifully balanced, and yet powerful sound in the exquisite acoustics of the Seminary Chapel. The professional orchestra has “offered some of the finest musical moments on the greater Gettysburg art scene in its two decades and always provides highlights of the Music, Gettysburg! concert season” said Mark Oldenburg, Chair of the Music, Gettysburg! program.

The violinist who will be appearing on this Mothers Day concert is Tessa Lark, who is no stranger to Gettysburg audiences. In 2006, when a high school student in Kentucky, she had won the prestigious Johansen International Competition as the outstanding violinist and, as a winner, was offered the opportunity to perform with the GCO. She selected the Beethoven Violin Concerto as her concerto of choice and performed it admirably.

Tessa attended the New England Conservatory of Music, where she received her Bachelors Degree, her Masters Degree, and an Artist Diploma. She has won a number of significant competitions, including the Naumberg International Violin Competition in 2012; in 2014, she was the Silver Medalist in the Indianapolis International Competition, and in 2016, she was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant for being  the outstanding violinist.  The Indianapolis Competition was especially important because she was the first American to win that award and as a result was loaned a famous violin once owned by the founder  of that competition—Josef Gingold. Gingold was the former Concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra and was Professor of Violin at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. The violin was a Stradivari built in 1683 by that most famous of violinmakers.

When the GCO presented its first concert 20 years ago, it was indeed a chamber orchestra that included only stringed instruments. Audiences may remember that the first concert was played in the Seminary Chapel before it was air-conditioned—the temperature was in the 90s, and the local players and the conductor removed jackets and ties in order to be more comfortable. Many members of that first concert are still with the ensemble and are pleased that the community has been so supportive of their efforts. The Directors, Norman and Carolyn Nunamaker, had recently returned from a sailing venture to the Bahamas after retiring from their teaching positions with Gettysburg College and the Gettysburg Area School District and had pondered how they could best utilize their respective talents. Norman, an active violinist and conductor, and Carolyn, with an extensive background in administration and mathematics, decided that they would attempt to create a professional orchestra for their friends and neighbors in the community. From the very beginning they had decided that they would create a professional ensemble, that is, a fully paid group, but that they would donate their time and expertise. Another objective that was stated in the “charter” was to use as many local musicians as members and/or as soloists, and in these 20 years more than 25 local musicians have appeared as soloists. The rest, as they say, is history!

Music, Gettysburg! salutes the GCO for 20 years of musical highlights, choral and orchestral collaborations and memorable moments in the 36 year history of Music, Gettysburg!  A wine and cheese reception at the Refectory will be available to all after the concert in celebration of this 20th Anniversary Concert. For further information please call 717-334-5508.   For more information about Music, Gettysburg!, the premiere free concert series for Central Pennsylvania audiences, visit or call 717.338.3000 ext 2197, or email .


Central PA Magazine named Music, Gettysburg! one of its '50 Fabulous Finds' in its listening area.

Upcoming Concerts

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August 06, 2017 @ 6:00 PM

Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra
September 10, 2017 @ 4:00 PM

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October 01, 2017 @ 4:00 PM

Martin Jean, Organist
October 29, 2017 @ 4:00 PM

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