John Smarelli Concertmaster Chair Endowment Fund

The John Smarelli Concertmaster Chair Endowment Fund was established to provide ongoing annual support for the Springfield Symphony concertmaster position. Each year, the SSO receives a portion of the interest or earnings from the endowment to use for the salary for the orchestra concertmaster. The principal for the endowment will always remain intact but will generate monies for this annual expense for generations to come.

The Symphony recognizes contributions to the Endowment Fund in a variety of ways. Donors who choose to be recognized will be publicized, and our musicians, board, staff, donors, and patrons will know of and recognize your benevolence.

This fund honors John Smarelli’s extraordinary legacy with the Springfield Symphony, the Springfield Youth Orchestras, the Springfield City Schools, area colleges and his lively performances through the decades. Please consider a gift to this endowment to fund the John Smarelli Concertmaster Chair in perpetuity.

To donate by check or for more information on the Smarelli Concertmaster Chair, please contact Sarah McPherson at the Springfield Foundation, 333 N Limestone St #201, Springfield, OH, 45503,, 937-324-8773.

To donate online, click the button below. Please indicate you are contributing to the “Smarelli Concertmaster Chair” in the Purpose/Endowment Fund field on the donation form.

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John Smarelli 1926-2005

On July 28, 2005, the Springfield arts community mourned the passing of John Smarelli, one of its most revered and respected members. For more than sixty years Mr. Smarelli was active as a performer in a five state area and as concertmaster for many prominent performers in show business. He was a member of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra for forty-two years, serving many years as concertmaster and personnel manager.  He officially announced his retirement from the Springfield Symphony Orchestra in March, 2003.

The Springfield Youth Symphony Conductor Emeritus and SSO Concertmaster Emeritus was born and raised in Richmond, Indiana. He joined the Army Air Corps upon graduation from high school, and after an honorable discharge in 1947 began study at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, earning a Master of Music degree in 1954.  Mr. Smarelli began teaching music in Twin Township, Bournesville, Ohio; moved to the Chillicothe Public Schools as a string and voice teacher, then spent twenty-five years teaching in the Springfield City Schools.

John Smarelli served the teaching profession at the state level through the Ohio Music Education Association as Chairman of Orchestra Affairs and as Chairman of Regional and All-State Orchestras. He presented clinics and was a guest conductor on numerous occasions throughout the Midwest. He also was a member of the faculties of Capital, Eastern Kentucky and Wittenberg Universities, the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and the Stephen Foster Music Camp.

A conductor of the Springfield Youth Symphony for eight years, John Smarelli is fondly remembered by SYS alumni for his passionate approach to the music, and his demand for hard work and perfection from each and every orchestra member. The John Smarelli Scholarship Fund was established in 1998 and a scholarship is awarded to a deserving young musician every spring at the annual John Smarelli Scholarship Concert.

For more information on the Smarelli Concertmaster Chair, please contact Victoria Richards at the Springfield Foundation,, 937-324-8773.

2023-2024 Sponsors:

Springfield Symphony Orchestra