The Van Wert County Courthouse

Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022

Good-bye to LSO Maestro Crafton Beck

This Friday night in Fountain Park will offer us the opportunity to say farewell and best wishes to Maestro Crafton Beck of the Lima Symphony Orchestra. Crafton decided this past spring that this will be his last season as music director/conductor of the Lima Symphony Orchestra. He will remain in that position with the Mississippi Symphony, which he has been serving for the past 18 years. In essence, it’s a slowdown for Crafton, not retirement.

Crafton will be entering his 21st year as conductor of the Lima Symphony Orchestra. During that time, he has taken the orchestra to unprecedented heights, raising the level of performance and professionalism. Attracting new, talented musicians has allowed the orchestra to play new literature, previously unattainable.  String and wind players travel from a three to four-state region to perform in the Lima Symphony.

Crafton’s infectious personality has enamored him to audiences wherever the orchestra has played.  I believe the Lima Symphony has performed every year of the Fountain Park Summer Music Series since its inception in 2002.  Most of those years, Crafton has made a point to clear his calendar to conduct our Van Wert performance because, as he has told me numerous times, he loves the Van Wert people.  

This Friday, the program Craft (our nickname) has put together is All-American.  All the music you will hear this Friday night in Fountain Park is written by American composers. Aaron Copland, Richard Rogers, John Philip Sousa, Scott Joplin, Irving Berlin, and John Williams are just a few of the composers whose music you will hear. I noticed the orchestra will be a little larger this year, perhaps to accommodate some of the John Williams music.

In addition to the wonderful American Pop and Patriotic music, we will be honored to have a Color Guard present the colors (American flag) and there will be individuals, coordinated by Linda Hartman, passing out American flags before the concert.  Wave them high and proud at appropriate times throughout the concert. The weather looks to be beautiful, so I look forward to a big and happy crowd in the park this Friday to enjoy one last time, the Lima Pops Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Crafton Beck.

Even the food will be a real American flavor as it’s served up by the Van Wert Cattlemen Association.  Unfortunately, I don’t believe that the symphony will be playing Copland’s Rodeo theme, but I’m sure the food will be delicious!

Following the concert, I hope you will come up to Maestro Crafton Beck and thank him for the years of wonderful music he has brought to Van Wert as conductor of the Lima Symphony Orchestra.

This concert will lead us into the July 4 holiday celebration. This year, I know there will be activities in Memorial Park beside the American Legion, as well as the wonderful times at the Van Wert County Historical Museum. These all follow the 11 a.m. parade down Main Street in Van Wert.  It’s truly a Holiday at Home celebration worthy of celebrating in Van Wert!

We take a week off then before returning to Fountain Park on July 13 for music by The Cyrkle, the band that brought us “Red Rubber Ball” and “Turn Down Day” in the 1960s.

All Fountain Park Summer Music Series concerts begin at 7 p.m. and a sponsored by The Van Wert County Foundation, in cooperation with the Van Wert City Parks & Recreation.


POSTED: 06/29/18 at 7:31 pm. FILED UNDER: News