Originally established over two decades ago as a volunteer orchestra on the campus of Wingate College, North Carolina, Union Symphony incorporated in 2007 with founding executive director Nola McCollum. For the next three seasons, Union Symphony Orchestra performed under the baton of artistic director Dr. Kenney Potter of Wingate University.
In 2008, Union Symphony began its educational outreach with the establishment of the Junior Guild, a music enrichment program that served local youth for the next four seasons. In 2009, Union Symphony began the Union Symphony Youth Orchestra, with founding music director Mekel Rogers, its largest educational outreach program. Prelude Junior String Orchestra, with founding music director Sabrina Howard, followed in 2012. Today, Union Symphony operates six educational programs for youth.
Union Symphony opened an office on Main Street in Downtown Monroe in 2008, and have since partnered with City of Monroe for performances including the Pops on the Plaza.
In 2009, the Union Symphony League was established with a two-pronged focus: 1) to organize and execute events designed to promote the social and cultural life of Union Symphony, and 2) to assist in the fundraising efforts of the USSI. Dr. Brooke Mitchell of Wingate University served as chair for the charter season.
In 2012, Union Symphony Orchestra came under the baton of current artistic director Richard Rosenberg. Executive director, Kim Norwood, a first full-time employee was hired in 2013. The next nine seasons saw significant growth in size and quality. In 2020, for a fifteenth season, Deanna Tham was hired as music director of Union Symphony Orchestra.
Union Symphony has offered a wide range of repertoires including classical, opera, jazz and popular music. Education and community engagement performances have represented another core component of the Symphony’s offerings, along with partnerships with other area arts, educational, and social services organizations.
Union Symphony has partnered with others in the community including the Union County Community Arts Council, the Union County Public Schools, Union County Youth Ballet and Wingate University. Union Symphony receives additional support from the James R. & Bronnie L. Braswell Trust and the Union County Community Foundation.
USSI Board Chairs
Richard Yercheck, 2016-Present
Caleb Barnhardt, 2015-2016
Chris Duggan, 2014–2015
Stella Baucom, 2013–2014
David Nelms, 2011-2013
Nathan Hopper, 2006–2011