Loading Events
  • This event has passed.

The Organ Symphony

$32 – $35


October 5, 2019
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
$32 – $35
Event Categories:
, ,


Firelands Symphony Orchestra


Sandusky State Theatre
107 Columbus Ave.
Sandusky, OH 44870 United States
+ Google Map
(877) 626-1950
The Organ Symphony

The Organ Symphony
Saturday, October 5, 2019 7:30pm
Sandusky State Theatre

Buy Single Tickets

The Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 78 was completed by Charles-Camille Saint-Saens in 1886 at what was considered the artistic zenith of his career.  Of composing the work Saint-Saens said “I gave everything to it I was able to give”. The work was written as a type of “history” of his own career; virtuoso piano passages, brilliant orchestral writing characteristic of the Romantic period, and the sound of a cathedral-sized pipe organ.

The two-reel silent short, “Big Business” (1929) has long been acknowledged as not only one of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy’s best films, but quintessential slapstick, and one of the greatest examples of the silent two-reeler. Todd Wilson continues the famous tradition of live pip organ accompaniment for silent films for this comic masterpiece.

The charming and colorful “Roumanian Rhapsody” by George Enesco incorporates the dance-like rhythms of the composer’s native country.  It is a perfect vehicle for the Neos Dance Theatre’s creative and lively choreography.

Saturday, October 5, 2019 7:30pm at Sandusky State Theatre
Conversation with the Conductor 6:30pm

Carl Topilow, Music Director and Conductor
Firelands Symphony Orchestra, Full Orchestra
Todd Wilson, Guest Organists
Neos Dance Theatre, Guest Dancers


The Organ Symphony is made possible by the generous support of our sponsors.

Randolph J. and Estelle M. Dorn Foundation


To Be Announced!

Buy Single Tickets

Click Below To Learn More


    The Ohio-made 3 manual, 8 rank Golden Voiced Marvel Page Theatre Organ was an integral part of the Sandusky State Theatre when it opened in 1928. As Talkies became popular, the need for the organ diminished. In 1961, the Seitz Family sold the Page organ to a theatre organ enthusiast who returned it to the State Theatre in 1995. A group of community philanthropists contributed to its restoration and we are proud to be able to feature it in our concert this evening.

    Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns October 1835 – 16 December 1921) was a French composer, organist, conductor and pianist of the Romantic era. His best-known works include Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso (1863), the Second Piano Concerto (1868), the First Cello Concerto (1872), Danse macabre (1874), the opera Samson and Delilah (1877), the Third Violin Concerto (1880), the Third (“Organ”) Symphony (1886) and The Carnival of the Animals (1886).

    Saint-Saëns was a musical prodigy; he made his concert debut at the age of ten. After studying at the Paris Conservatoire he followed a conventional career as a church organist, first at Saint-Merri, Paris and, from 1858, La Madeleine, the official church of the French Empire. After leaving the post twenty years later, he was a successful freelance pianist and composer, in demand in Europe and the Americas.

    As a young man, Saint-Saëns was enthusiastic for the most modern music of the day, particularly that of Schumann, Liszt and Wagner, although his own compositions were generally within a conventional classical tradition. He was a scholar of musical history, and remained committed to the structures worked out by earlier French composers. This brought him into conflict in his later years with composers of the impressionist and dodecaphonic schools of music; although there were neoclassical elements in his music, foreshadowing works by Stravinsky and Les Six, he was often regarded as a reactionary in the decades around the time of his death.

    Saint-Saëns held only one teaching post, at the École de Musique Classique et Religieuse in Paris, and remained there for less than five years. It was nevertheless important in the development of French music: his students included Gabriel Fauré, among whose own later pupils was Maurice Ravel. Both of them were strongly influenced by Saint-Saëns, whom they revered as a genius.


    This year Carl Topilow will be celebrating his 12th season as Firelands Symphony Orchestra Music Director and Conductor. His tenure with the orchestra has seen a dramatic improvement in the orchestra’s quality, a significant rise in subscriptions and concert attendance, and the appearance of world class soloists to our stage.In addition to his work with the FSO, Topilow is founding conductor of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, leads the National Repertory Orchestra, a summer festival in Breckenridge, Colorado. He is Faculty Emeritus at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Topilow has appeared as guest conductor for more than 120 orchestras in 37 states and 12 foreign countries.

    Topilow has assisted in the training of talented musicians and conductors for positions in orchestras in the United States and abroad and has supplied numerous young musicians the opportunity to perform as both orchestra members and soloists. His manner of presenting the music through musical illustrations and guides has enhanced the concert experience for audience members.

    In addition to his work as conductor, Topilow continues to perform as clarinetist with orchestra as well as with piano in informal recitals.

    Topilow’s wife Shirley is the President and CEO of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra. Their daughter Jenny is a violinist with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. Their daughter Emily is a recent graduate of Bowling Green State University, where she is majored in psychology and minored in marketing, and played in the BGSU Symphony Orchestra.


    Todd Wilson - OrganistRegarded across America and around the world as one of today’s finest concert organists, Todd Wilson serves as head of the Organ Department at The Cleveland Institute of Music, and is also Director of Music at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio and Curator of the E.M. Skinner pipe organ at Severance Hall (home of The Cleveland Orchestra).Previously, Mr. Wilson served as Director of Music and Organist at The Church of the Covenant (Presbyterian), Cleveland, Ohio for nineteen years, and from 1989 through 1993 was Head of the Organ Department at Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory of Music in nearby Berea, performing in their annual Bach Festivals. He also served as Organist and Master of the Choristers at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Garden City, New York. In New York, he taught on the faculties of Adelphi and Hofstra Universities and was organist of the George Mercer School of Theology.

    Todd Wilson has been heard in recital at many major venues throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan, including Symphony Hall (Birmingham, UK), Westminster Abbey (London, UK), St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin (Ireland), Los Angeles’ Walt Disney Concert Hall, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, Cleveland’s Severance Hall, Dallas’ Meyerson Symphony Center, Philadelphia’s Verizon Hall, Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Milwaukee’s Uihlein Hall, Washington National Cathedral, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York City, and the 21,000-seat Mormon Conference Center in Salt Lake City. He also was a recitalist for Austrian Radio in Vienna, and in January 2005 he presented his first solo recital in Tokyo, Japan.

    Mr. Wilson has appeared with many symphony orchestras around the world including the Cleveland Orchestra for whom he serves as Organ Curator, the Los Angeles Philharmonic for whom in 2004 he was featured organ soloist on the first orchestra subscription series concerts featuring the new Walt Disney Concert Hall organ, the Nashville Symphony, the Slovakian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Naples (Florida) Philharmonic, and with members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

    His latest CD, “The Organ Music of Gerre Hancock” is on the Raven label and was recorded at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue New York City. Other recordings feature a live recital of American music from the National Cathedral in Washington, DC on the JAV label, and “Live from Severance Hall”: a concert of music for trumpet and organ with Michael Sachs, Principal Trumpet of The Cleveland Orchestra. Other CDs on the JAV label are “Music for Cello and Organ” with his daughter, Rachel (released in September, 2003), “George Thalben- Ball and Friends” (released July 2001), and “Frank Bridge and Friends” featuring the complete organ works of Frank Bridge (released June 2000). He plays a variety of Christmas music on “A Joyous Celebration,” the inaugural recording (2001) of the recently restored E. M. Skinner organ in Cleveland’s Severance Hall, which is available from The Cleveland Orchestra. Mr. Wilson’s CDs for Delos International include: the Complete Organ Works of Maurice Duruflé; the Widor “Symphonie Romane” plus works by Jongen, Langlais, Bonnet, Demessieux and Dupré; “In a Quiet Cathedral,” a two-disc collection of meditative organ music. “Double Forte,” a recording of duo organ works recorded with David Higgs. Earlier recordings include a Disques du Solstice recording of Tournemire organ works on the organ of Chartres Cathedral, and works by Duruflé, Guillou and Robinson at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in New York City (Gothic).

    Mr. Wilson received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, where he studied organ with Wayne Fisher and piano with John Quincy Bass. Further coaching in organ repertoire was with Russell Saunders at The Eastman School of Music. An active member of the American Guild of Organists, Mr. Wilson holds the Fellow and Choirmaster certificates from that institution, and won the S. Lewis Elmer Prize for the highest national exam score in 1982. He has been a featured recitalist at many Guild conventions including national conventions in 1996 (New York City), 2008 (Minneapolis, MN) and 2012 (Nashville TN).

    He has won numerous competitions, including the prestigious French Grand Prix de Chartres, the Fort Wayne Competition, the Strader National Scholarship Competition and the national competition sponsored by the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles. A sought-after adjudicator, Mr. Wilson has been a member of the jury for many of the world’s most prestigious competitions; most recently at the 2014 Pipeworks International Organ Competition in Dublin, Ireland. He has also served on juries for The Nürnberg Competition (Germany), the Dallas Competition (USA), the Royal College of Organists’ Performer of the Year Competition (UK), the Calgary International Organ Festival and Competition (Canada), the St. Alban’s International Organ Festival (UK), the Grand Prix de Chartres and the Toulouse Festival Competitions (France), the American Guild of Organists National Young Artists Competition, and the Ft. Wayne Competition (USA). He currently serves as Conference Director for the Montreat Conference on Worship and Music in Sewanee Tennessee. Previously he served as organ clinician at the Evergreen Conference (for Episcopal church musicians) in Colorado, at the National Music Camp at Interlochen, and for the Presbyterian Association of Musicians. He has also directed and served on the faculty for many Pipe Organ Encounters for the American Guild of Organists.

    Having grown up in the men and boys choir of Trinity Church in Toledo, the choirs and music of the Anglican tradition have been an influential part of Mr. Wilson’s musical life. During 1978-79 he served as a visiting assistant in music at Canterbury Cathedral in England under Dr. Allan Wicks. At the Cathedral of the Incarnation, Mr. Wilson directed one of the longest-running choirs of men and boys in continuous existence in the United States. Mr. Wilson frequently presents workshops on English choral and organ music, as well as on service playing. An active interest in improvisation has led to his popular improvised accompaniments to classic silent films.



    Artistic/Executive Director, Robert Wesner
    Co-Founder, Brooke Wesner
    Lighting Designer, Dennis Dugan
    Stage Manager, Christopher J. Ha
    Director of Education and Outreach, DeMarcus Akeem Suggs
    Administrative Assistant, Gwendolyn L. Feldman
    Special Effects, Andy Gardner
    Graphic Design and Marketing, Kathy Hilton
    Set Construction, Kirsten Williams
    Costume Design and Construction, Janet Bolick

    Juliana Freude, Kassandra Lee, Kaleb Reilly, Matthew Roberts, Carson Sandiford, Katherine Tackett, Anna Trumbo, Brooke Wesner
    Apprentice: Rebekah Grey,
    Trainee: Ali LeBayCompany History
    With a highly valued performance and education presence throughout Northeast Ohio — especially in Ashland, Cuyahoga, Hancock, Lorain, Richland and Summit counties — Neos has achieved a growing reputation for artistic excellence, adventurous programming, and passionate community collaborations.
    Founded in 2012 by Bobby and Brooke Wesner, Neos seeks to:

    1. 1. advance dance-related education by student training, intensive summer study, and master classes;
    2. 2. raise awareness of the dance arts; and
    3. 3. culturally enrich Northern Ohio through performance of high quality dance by obtaining and presenting the widest range of repertoire possible.

    Blending classical and contemporary
    Energized by classical and contemporary choreography, Neos has showcased works by Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s resident choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo, Heinz Poll, George Balanchine, and Penny Saunders.

    Further, Neos director and co-founder Bobby Wesner is an active choreographer. To date he has choreographed over 20 repertoire pieces & four evening-length ballets for Neos Dance Theatre and served as producer for an additional ballet by former resident choreographer Mary-Elizabeth Fenn.

    Popular collaborator
    Neos is sought-after as a performer and partner. In February 2018, for example, the company joined forces with the Akron Symphony Orchestra and The University of Akron’s Dance Institute and E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall for a new full-length ballet — Petrushka — that received rave reviews.

    In December 2017, Neos presented collaborative performances of A 1940s Nutcracker in multiple venues: at the Renaissance Theatre in Mansfield with the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra; at the Marathon Performing Arts Center in Findlay in collaboration with the Findlay Academy of Ballet; and at the Stocker Arts Center in Elyria with students from the new Neos Center for Dance in Oberlin and surrounding schools.

    Neos has and/or is collaborating with the Akron Art Museum (November 2016), Akron Symphony (2017 and 2018), City of Akron’s Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival (annually), Akron Civic Theatre, Ashland’s Guy C. Meyers Bandshell, Ashland Regional Ballet, Ashland Symphony, Ashland University, Belhaven University in Mississippi, Cain Park, Cleveland’s Playhouse Square, Cleveland
    Pops Orchestra, Dance Institute and Dance Program at The University of Akron, Dancing Wheels, Downtown Akron Partnership, Findlay Academy of Ballet, Lakeside Chautauqua, Mansfield Symphony, Oberlin College, The Ohio State University, Verb Ballets, and many more.

    Showcasing NE Ohio by crossing state lines
    Neos has toured to 10 states, including Georgia where it performed along the coast in 2016 & 2018.

    Growing strategically
    Founded in 2012, Neos is strategically growth-oriented. Within the past 18 months, Neos has:

    • Opened the Neos Center for Dance (NCD), a new pre-professional and community school at the Oberlin Center for the Arts in downtown Oberlin. o In addition to strengthening Neos’ presence in Lorain County, NCD tuition is generating revenue for the company. o Support from the Nord Foundation helped Neos launch NCD.
    • Piloted M.A.D.E. in Ashland in March 2017, which brought together artists to highlight Music, Art, Dance and Education during a weeklong residency that culminated in a performance at Archer Auditorium.
    • This successful educational program is now expanding to serve more students throughout Ashland County.
    • Hired DeMarcus Akeem Suggs as its first director of education and outreach.
    • Previously holding similar leadership position with the VictoriaTheatre Association and Victory Project in Dayton, as well dancing professionally with the Dayton Ballet, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and others, Suggs helps to oversee daily operations of the Neos Center for Dance.
    • Produced its first Lose Your Marbles, a dance-centric fringe festival in non-traditional venues throughout downtown Akron.
    • Presented in June 2017 with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as part of its Knight Arts Challenge, the festival was a fun and informative opportunity for the community to binge-watch performing and visual artists. o Audience members were able to use social media to share their opinions about what they’d seen and vote for the best-of-show performance that then received a final showcase at the end of the festival. o The festival — which will continue in 2019 — takes its name from Akron’s legacy as the birthplace of toy marbles. o Lose Your Marbles is the second consecutive and highly competitive arts challenge grant that Neos has received from Knight Foundation. With Knight’s support, dance.r.evolution and Lose Your Marbles are expanding and engaging audiences by bringing together classically trained choreographers with local urban dancers, graffiti artists and urban/pop musicians to learn from each other and present new ideas.


    DeMarcus Akeem Suggs: Twin Cities, MN native. Montreal, QC is life. I’m such a fan of Neos because of its innovative approach to dance and the versatility of its artists. Check out @NeosCentre4Dance! Ramen is the best food ever created. Denzel Washington is my movie dad #Denzealot

    Juliana Freude: Her favorite Akron eateries El Rincon and Luigi’s. She loves a good beer, Broadway shows, good books and motorcycles. During class you can find Juliana wearing her heating pad and enjoying a big cup of coffee. This is Juliana’s ninth season with Neos.

    Matthew Roberts:
    Rejoice in hope,
    be patient in tribulation,
    be constant in prayer.
    (Romans 12:12)
    Until God opens the next door,
    I’ll praise Him in the hallway.

    Katherine Tackett: Katie’s favorite TV shows are The Office, Gilmore Girls and Friends. One day she wants to go to culinary school and open a restaurant. Katie loves Neos because it is a holistic and nurturing environment to grow in as a dancer.

    Anna Trumbo: Anna, an ideal Saturday afternoon must include, a cat in her lap, a full season of a period drama, and a buttered, toasted everything bagel.

    Kassandra Lee: Kassandra’s favorite cities she’s visited so far include Denver, NOLA, and Madrid. She somehow owns multiple yellow sweaters and loves all things Harry Potter. Kassandra can often be found hanging with her dog, Puppers, and is always down for an adventure.

    Rebekah Gray Mayfield: Between rehearsals, you can find Rebekah studying and planning her wedding. She loves her mom’s home cooked meals, movie night with her family, and spending time with her golden retriever. Rebekah has been an apprentice with Neos about three years now.

    Ali Lebay: Ali loves camping, traveling, reading, horseback riding, snowboarding, acting, fruit, and Jane Austin. After her dance career she plans to teach English abroad. She is over the moon excited to be experiencing her first season with NEOS.

    Kaleb Reilly began dancing with Neos in the summer of 2017, and he loves being a part of this company’s work. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his wife, experiencing nature, playing music, and eating!

    Brooke Wesner: Brooke is a busy mother of four beautiful daughters, Genevieve, Ella, Mekah and Arowyn. When she isn’t in the studio she enjoys frequenting their many activities. She can also be found on the lawn mower or digging herself out of a pile of laundry. She finds solace in reading her bible and red wine.

    Carson Sandiford previously with the Cleveland Ballet and Joffrey Ballet Concert Group in NY moved to the Cleveland area last year. Has loved working with Neos and exploring the national and metro parks with his wife Rebeca. They also have a cat named Scooter-butt.

    Robert Wesner, Neos Artistic Director, choreographer and is a busy father of four beautiful daughters, Genevieve, Ella, Mekah and Arowyn.