In the Name of Music Education

Full FVSO Sinfonia orchestra performing concert.

The immensely talented Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra (FVSO) is a well-known fixture in our community, providing world-class musicianship and welcoming national and international guest performers to join them throughout their concert season. But one night each year, they lend center stage to another group of instrumentalists:
The Sinfoniacs.

Entertainment at Its Finest

Since 2015, members of the Fox Valley Sinfonia have assembled for the group’s annual fundraiser, contributing more than $170,000 to support the mission of the FVSO and Fox Valley Youth Orchestras. In fact, it’s the Orchestra’s biggest fundraiser of the year, if that’s any indication of the Sinfoniacs’ entertainment value.
Unlike the FVSO’s accomplished members who delight and impress audiences with their classically trained musical talents, the Sinfonia delivers a less traditional performance. In large part, because most of its members have never picked up an instrument or read music before.
Receiving their instrument and coach assignments a mere three months before the performance, the Sinfoniacs have just five sectional rehearsals, four full group rehearsals, and a dress rehearsal to become “concert ready.”

Community First Tunes In

Who would choose to sign up for this seemingly impossible feat, you ask?
Well, we’re excited to share that the Sinfonia Class of ’24 will include two of our very own. Peter Mariahazy, Community First member-owner and Vice Chair of our Board of Directors, and Julie Johnson, Race Director for the Community First Fox Cities Marathon, are currently gearing up for an evening of awfully good music by trying their hands at the Violin and Tuba, respectively.


“I’ve always wanted to be on stage,” admitted Johnson. “It’s an honor to be chosen for Sinfonia, both for the personal experience and the opportunity to raise funds for youth music education. I never thought I’d learn how to read sheet music or play an instrument – and of all instruments, the tuba! I hope I can do the group justice, instead of just blowing a lot of hot air.”
Mariahazy and Johnson are joined by over 70 fellow Sinfoniacs who are coming together to make music, make friends, and most importantly, make a difference in advancing music education in our community. In addition to funds raised through their online donation sites, Community First will be selling candy bars at our branch locations to help them reach $7,500 of the $50,000 total fundraising goal.
With 11 grandchildren – most of whom are currently enrolled in some form of music education – the idea of raising money for the area’s youth orchestras made participating an easy choice for Mariahazy.
“It’s a way to give back to the community, an additional way to connect with my grandkids, and an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and try something new,” he said. “Not only are we helping to support the next generation of musicians, but we get to have fun in the process.”

Concert Details

This year’s Sinfonia is titled “Tunes In,” and features theme music inspired by many well-known television shows, including Game of Thrones, Mission Impossible, Sesame Street, The Flintstones, and many more.
When: May 18, 2024 @ 7:30 p.m.
Where: James Perry Hall (Located inside UW Oshkosh at Fox Cities)
Visit one of the following donation pages to support the FVSO’s mission and help our participants reach their fundraising goal:

Julie Johnson’s Fundraiser                                         
Donation Link  

Peter Mariahazy’s Fundraiser
Donation Link

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