About Sinfonia

Conductor sitting in front of orchestra in gold frame

Orchestra playing in gold frame

Orchestra performers playing in gold frame

Saturday, June 3 at 7:30pm

James Perry Hall | UW Oshkosh at Fox Cities

Fox Valley Sinfonia is an annual fundraiser that benefits the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra and Youth Orchestras. Since 2015, Sinfonia has contributed more than $150,000 to help support the mission of the FVSO and music in our community. We thank our Sinfoniacs, sponsors, committee members, and audience members who make this event a success each year!

The Sinfonia Journey — from 1970s Portsmouth, England to today’s Fox Valley, Wisconsin

It was a novel idea at the Portsmouth (England) School of Art in 1970: create an orchestra of people with little or no experience on the instrument they would play. What started as a one-off, tongue-in-cheek performance ensemble became a cultural phenomenon during the next ten years.

By 1974, the Portsmouth Sinfonia played a sold-out concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Its combination of music and comedy led to international fame, concert tours, and even being featured on surreal comedy group Monty Python’s CD Dead Parrot Society.

Years later, ca. 2014, Jason Henderson of Appleton, Wisconsin heard about the Portsmouth Sinfonia, was intrigued by the idea, and mentioned it to friend, fellow musician, and Fox Valley Symphony board member Mike Kubicki. The two begin to think “What if . . . ?” They described it to fellow board member Renee Boldt, who was further intrigued by the idea and knew that the board was looking for creative ways to expand interest in the Symphony and symphonic music, and to raise funds to put the organization on strong financial footing as it planned for its next 50 years.

And just like that, Henderson and Kubicki became co-chairs of the newly conceived Fox Valley Sinfonia. With support from Mary Harp-Jirschele, Karen Laws, Cindi Ritcey-Fox, Katie Phalin, Heidi Zich and Megan Schlimm, the inaugural concert took place on March 21, 2015!

Sinfonia Throughout the Years

Fox Valley Sinfonias 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2022 have contributed more than $150,000 to help support the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra and its Youth Orchestra programs. We thank the musicians, sponsors, committee members and audience members who have made this a success!



Fox Valley Sinfonia 2022

Sinfonia Goes Classical



Fox Valley Sinfonia 2020

Sinfonia Changes the Channel



Fox Valley Sinfonia 2019

March 16, 2019 at 7:30 pm | Perry Hall, UW – Fox Valley

Sinfonia Saves the Day
Craig Kellenberger, Conductor



Fox Valley Sinfonia 2018

March 10, 2018 at 7:30 pm | Perry Hall, UW – Fox Valley

Sinfonia Goes to the Movies
Craig Kellenberger, Conductor

Featuring repertoire from Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter and more!

Co-chairs: Oliver Zornow and Jenny Vanden Heuvel
Committee members: Beth Servais, Rich Redman, Lisa Piikkila, Ken Koszewa, Melissa Huempfner, Sarah Koenigs, Linda Drezdzon
Sponsors: Coalesce Marketing & Design, Heid Music, Graham Images, Optima Graphics



Fox Valley Sinfonia 2017

Craig Kellenberger, director of orchestras at Appleton North and West High Schools and Renaissance School for the Arts, stepped to the podium as Sinfonia conductor this year. With the theme of “Sinfonia Gets Romantic,” he chose overtures from Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” and Tschaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet,” along with selections from Grieg’s “Peer Gynt Suite” and the finale from Offenbach’s “Orpheus” (otherwise known as the “Can, Can!”).

Emcee Steve March-Tormé again kept the evening moving, and 56 musicians (a few of whom even came back for their second or third year!) treated the audience to a night of music, comedy, and even an extra note or screech here and there!

Chair: Jason Henderson
Committee Members: Mary Harp-Jirschele, Karen Laws, Mike Kubicki, Katie Phalin, Melissa Huempfner, Lisa Piikkila and Barb Ristau
Sponsors: Tundraland (Presenting Sponsor), Enterprise Systems Group (ESG) (Maestro Sponsor), Heid Music, Coalesce Marketing & Design, Graham Images



Fox Valley Sinfonia 2016

Conductor Kristi Stingle – knowing full well what she was in for after last year’s experience – bravely returned as Sinfonia’s conductor. She chose five (note, that’s one more than last year) works for the 64 “musicians” to perform:

  • Also Sprach Whatshisname – A John Petrone arrangement of Richard Strauss’ famous fanfare (music historians and film buffs will, of course, recognize “whatshisname” as Zarathustra and this work as the theme of “2001: A Space Odyssey”)
  • Fanfare and Fireworks – Brian Balmages
  • Ode to Joy – Beethoven
  • An Der Schönen Blauen Donau – Johann Strauss (known to us as “The Blue Danube”)
  • Pomp and Circumstance – Edward Elgar’s “The Graduation March”

Steve March-Tormé kept the conductor, the players, and the gracious audience on track as the “master” for this ceremony!

Chair: Jason Henderson
Committee members: Mary Harp-Jirschele, Karen Laws, Mike Kubicki, Katie Phalin, Melissa Huempfner, Lisa Piikkila and Barb Ristau
Sponsors: Bergstrom Automotive (Presenting Sponsor), AT&T (Maestro Sponsor), Heid Music, BConnected, Heid Music, Coalesce Marketing & Design, Graham Images



Fox Valley Sinfonia 2015

The premiere performance of the Fox Valley Sinfonia took place on March 21, 2015. Fifty community leaders and other brave souls picked up an instrument they had never played before, took a handful of lessons from even braver professional instructors, experienced four full-orchestra rehearsals, and appeared on stage at UW Fox’s Perry Hall for what was billed as “one hilarious night of awful music for a great cause.”

Led by Neenah High School orchestra conductor Kristi Stingle, they performed Mouret’s “Fanfare Rondeau” (better known as the Masterpiece Theater theme song), Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” excerpts from Mahler’s “Symphony No. 1,” and Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.” Interspersed with skits, narration by master of ceremonies Steve March-Tormé, and brief selections by each of the instrumental groups to show off their skills (!), more real music was made than most people expected!

Co-chairs: Jason Henderson and Mike Kubicki
Committee members: Mary Harp-Jirschele, Karen Laws, Cindi Ritcey Fox, Katie Phalin, Heidi Zich and Megan Schlimm
Sponsors: Heid Music, SCM Marketing Solutions