Peterson retires as concertmaster

The Marquette Symphony Orchestra is pictured. (Courtesy photo)

MARQUETTE — Marquette Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Janis Shier Peterson has announced her plans to retire as concertmaster and instead take on a new role

Peterson is a founding member of the orchestra and only missed two concerts over 27 seasons. At the orchestra’s 2023-2024 season finale on April 13, the audience was told that Peterson will move to the viola section of the orchestra.

“I have loved my time with the MSO and am grateful to have made music with such amazing people,” Peterson said. “I haven’t stopped loving the violin and I will continue my study of that instrument. I also love the sound of the viola and look forward to a new experience as an inner voice in the orchestra.”

The orchestra honored Peterson by renaming an award that recognizes its volunteers.

The honor is known now as The Janis Shier Peterson MSO Distinguished Service Award.

Peterson’s spirit and dedication have kept the orchestra alive and growing.

“The first concert was very exciting,” she recalled. “I think we all wondered if that concert would be the only one, but the musicians and community were committed!”

The retired Marquette Area Public Schools orchestra director says it gives her great personal pride to play in the MSO with so many former students. She also loves that the organization finds the resources to present Children’s Concerts for local elementary school students.

“The MSO musicians work really hard and deserve the utmost respect,” added Peterson. “They sacrifice so much time to provide an orchestral experience for our audience. Also, the volunteer committee members, business manager and operations manager (Betsy Grugin) do so much work behind the scenes. It takes a metropolis to put on a symphony concert.”

Peterson has also led the MSO’s Summer Strings ensemble and served in various capacities on the orchestra’s Artistic Advisory Committee.

“It’s time for someone else to have a chance to lead and bring new ideas to the organization,” said Peterson.

The MSO’s next performance is a free concert at the Presque Isle Park Band Shell at 7:30 p.m. July 11. The free performance is made possible by Eagle Mine.


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