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FOA History

1928 the first Florida High School Music Festival was held in the city of Tampa. It was sponsored and conducted annually by M.L. Price of the Price Music Company of Tampa, and later sponsored by the University of Tampa and Mr. Price.

1936 the festival came under the supervision of the Convention and Tourist Bureau of the Tampa Chamber of Commerce. These early festivals were for band, orchestra and chorus. According to records there were 1,500 students in attendance that year.

1939 the FBA (Florida Band Association) separated from orchestra and chorus to hold festivals in other parts of the State.

1940 the Vocal and Orchestra festival had seventy groups participate with 2,695 students in attendance.

1946 the Vocal and Orchestra Association ties were severed, and the Florida Orchestra Association (FOA) was formed. They held their concert festivals with FBA at that time.

1954 the Florida Orchestra Association was awarded its own operating budget by the FHSAA of $2,500.00 (Florida High School Activities Association).

1959 FOA began its association with the Florida Music Educators’ Association.

1964 FOA was given approval from the FHSAA to hold their own state festival which was on February 28-29, 1964 at the University of Florida.

1989 FOA adopted new by-laws and became a corporation recognized by the State of Florida.

1997 the three High School music components (FOA, FBA, and FVA) formed the Florida School Music Association which is the governing body for all secondary music activities across the state.

2003 the Florida Orchestra Association, Inc. was recognized by the Federal Government as a not-for-profit Association.

2003 FOA also employed an Executive Director to oversee all record keeping, District Chair training and all finances for the Association.

2004 State Solo & Ensemble MPA and State Concert MPA were separated into two standalone events.

2005 the Executive Board was reorganized adding a separate board position for the 9/10 All State Orchestra Coordinator, and a Florida American String Teachers Association (FLASTA) representative as a non-voting member of the Board.

2006 FOA implemented the uniformity of District Sight Reading across the entire State.

2007 FOA added a new committee to their committee structure - the Mentoring committee now joins the other working committees of the Florida Orchestra Association, which include Finance, MPA, Clinics/Conference, Benevolence, Music, Awards, Adjudication, Advocacy, All State, Handbook, and Ethics Committees.

2008 for the first time in the history of the Florida Orchestra Association’s total gross receipts exceeded two hundred-fifty thousand dollars. ($250,000.00) for a fiscal year.

2009 the Florida Orchestra Association added a final 9 – 12 All State Honors Orchestra to the FMEA January Clinic.

2019 for the first time in the history of the Florida Orchestra Association’s total gross receipts exceeded half a million dollars. ($500,000.00) for a fiscal year.

2021 - 2022 school year marks the 75th Anniversary of the Florida Orchestra Association’s existence

Past Presidents

1946-1947: Al Wright
1949-1951: Howard Swyers
1951-1952: Paul Cremaschi
1952-1954: William Benton
1954-1956: Robert Lawrence
1956-1958: Orvin A. Sale
1958-1959: Orlando Vega
1959-1961: Wilmer C. Banks
1961-1963: Josef Oszuscik
1963-1965: Philip H. Fink
1965-1966: Carl G. Werner
1966-1967: Charles Foster
1967-1969: John C. Canfield
1969-1971: Glenn Heinlen
1971-1973: Joe S. Jackson
1973-1975: Rudolph von Unruh
1975-1977: Robert R. Cotter
1977-1979: Robert P. Bobo
1979-1981: Pamela Andrews
1981-1983: Judith Evans
1983-1985: Linda Groh
1985-1987: William McNeiland
1987-1989: Deborah Perkins
1989-1991: Mark Thielen
1991-1993: Michael Lawson
1993-1995: Gary Mousseau
1995-1997: James Palmer
1997-1999: Dale Jensen
1999-2001: Thomas Silliman
2001-2005: Kathy Cook
2005-2007: Brian Hellhake
2007-2009: Scott M. Rudes
2009-2001: Tami Roedig
2011-2013: Jennifer Rhodes
2013-2015: Nancy Beebe
2015-2017: Valerie Terry
2017-2019: Jason Jerald
2019-2021: Matthew L. Davis
2021-2023: Laurie Bitters

Executive Directors

1970-1976: Carl Werner
1976-1981: Rudolph von Unruh
1981-1985: Dale Jensen
1985-1989: Judy Evans
1989-1993: Valerie Terry
1993-1995: Tracy Thielen
1995-2003: Reginald Nicholson
2003-Present: Donald K Langland