By TOM LAVIS
The Johnstown Symphony Orchestra has appointed Samuel L. Coco of Richland Township as director of the Johnstown Symphony Chorus for the coming concert season.
Coco, a graduate of Greater Johnstown High School and a lifelong resident of Johnstown, began his new duties Monday in preparation for the season-opening Opera Festival on Sept. 15.
Coco replaces David Garwood, who is probably best known in the region as a character actor and musical director at Mountain Playhouse, Jennerstown.
Patricia Hofscher, symphony executive director, said Coco brings many well-honed skills to the symphony chorus.
“Coco, a well-known educator and performer in the area, recently retired from more than 34 years of teaching in the Forest Hills School District,” Hofscher said.
“With his teaching and performing skills, we are extremely lucky to have him take this active part in the symphony organization.”
He has played in the double bass and percussion sections of the symphony and was conductor of the Johnstown Symphony Youth Orchestra for many years.
Coco is encouraging people who have vocal experience to become members.
“Maestro has charged the new director to grow the chorus and increase its already wonderful abilities,” Hofscher said.
Coco has been a member of the symphony chorus, as well as a member of the Symphony Singers, a small choral group whose specialty was smaller choral venues.
“I look forward to the joys and challenges of working as conductor,” Coco said.
“My goals are to make the organization grow and bring it up to the same level as the orchestra, which is superior.”
Coco also wants the chorus to be a more integral part of the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra and the community.
This year’s concert season offers an opportunity to have the chorus be an important part of the concert schedule, including the Opera Festival, Christmas and spring concerts.
“We will also be performing a totally choral concert after our duties to the orchestra season are concluded,” Coco said.
“We strive to be a premier choir.”
Anyone interested in participating in the Johnstown Symphony Chorus should call the symphony office at 535-6738.
Rehearsals are under way for the Opera Festival, and studies for the regular season will commence Sept. 24.
Who: Samuel L. Coco.
What: Director, Johnstown Symphony Chorus.
Hometown: Lifelong Greater Johnstown resident.
By TOM LAVIS