This PSOHistory.org website is sponsored by Henry A. Schmitt, who is solely responsible for its content. While every attempt has been made to assure its accuracy, there is no implied guarantee that effort was totally successful. Hank and Sue Schmitt are subscribers and active volunteers with the Portland Symphony Orchestra (PSO) in Portland, Maine. Their daughter and her husband, Val Schmitt and Rob LeVine, oversaw the design, creation and extensive crafting of the website.
The fact that the orchestra's long-established website, www.portlandsymphony.org, contains a link to PSOHistory.org (and vice versa), is a convenience for readers. While the Portland Symphony Orchestra cooperated by making archive material available and some PSO officials read draft sections of this history, the Portland Symphony Orchestra did not censor or edit the material contained within PSOHistory.org and is not responsible for the accuracy or editorial content of the history text.
What This Website Contains
PSOHistory.org makes available aspects of a multi-year volunteer attempt that Hank undertook to chronicle the musical, operating and relevant tangential history of the PSO. It includes a reference text history and appendices, a listing of and details covering more than 2000 concerts performed by the PSO since its founding in 1924, links to digital scans of parts of programs for more than 75 percent of those concerts, copies of PSO pre-season marketing brochures from 1938-onward, and copies of pictures related to the PSO's nine decades (1924-2014).
How It Came About
With eventual substantial editing and technical help from his wife (as well as important TLC from her), in 2011 Hank embarked on an extensive three-year project to learn about and chronicle aspects of the PSO's history. The reference text and other materials at this PSOHistory.org website are the result of that effort.
Sources of information included items contained in 60+ boxes located in the PSO's archives. Scrapbooks containing old newspaper articles and reminiscences from several long time PSO musicians, now deceased, were invaluable. Personal interviews with musicians who played with the PSO as far back as the 1940's yielded significant insights and perspectives, as did in-depth conversations with PSO music directors covering the period 1967 to present. Memorabilia and original programs were lent or donated by many long time PSO musicians and subscribers, the concert programs supplementing an incomplete program collection in the orchestra's archives.
Hank and Sue (the program scanner and text editor par excellence) hope that visitors to PSOHistory.org enjoy and benefit from the fruits of their labors, especially the first-ever multi-year chronological compilation of PSO concert performances, as well as the reference History Text and an accompanying Anecdote Section. And if visitors find presentation and interpretation of events entertaining - even if only sometimes - so much the better.
On the weekend of the Portland Symphony Orchestra's 90th Anniversary Gala and Concert, the PSOHistory.org author and chief editor, Hank Schmitt and Sue Schmitt (center), posed with three past PSO music directors and the then-current music director. From left to right are: Bruce Hangen (tenure 1976-1986), Robert Moody (2008-2018), Paul Vermel (1967-1975) and Toshi Shimada (1986-2006). Catherine Paulin stands next to Maestro Vermel, her husband. --Portland City Hall's State of Maine Room: May 1, 2015--
How to Contact Us
If you have questions or comments please contact us at: archives@PSOHistory.org.