7th Army Symphony

This site is dedicated to the players of the orchestra, which existed in Germany from 1952 to 1962, and is still remembered.   Clarinetist Jerry Mattson expresses it aptly: "I don't normally live in the past, but I have yet to come across anyone with a comparable experience to hark back to.  Those were strange and wonderful years."

In David Furholmen's video from the 2006 reunion, Sam Adler, founder and first conductor of the orchestra, tells the remarkable story of how it all began -- and how the orchestra "brought a message of peace and of friendship through the language of music to a large part of the world". For a 39-minute documentary film giving a fuller account of Sam's life and the beginnings of the orchestra, use this link and enter the password "adler2011". On January 13, 2024 Sam Adler presented a 75-minute lecture, the first of a four-part series "95 Years of Music to Speak to Our Time: Building Bridges through Music", for the Arts and Entertainment Lecture Series at the Performing Arts Building on Cape Cod. It covers his childhood in Germany, his family's escape from Mannheim on the last train out, just AFTER Kristallnacht, the start of his career in the US, and the beginning of his Army service. The second lecture, given on March 2, 2024, includes the story of the founding of the 7th Army Symphony. The third lecture, given on April 27, focuses on his almost 30 years of teaching at Eastman All are well worth a listen; among other things, Sam's memory for details is stunning..

Garmisch Garmisch

where the orchestra played on July 7, 1958

June 2, 2024

Arthur Grossman has reported the sad news that William McColl (clarinet 7/57 - 9/58) died on January 7 of this year. An obituary appears here .
Books About the Orchestra or Orchestra Members:
Uncle Sam's Orchestra: Memories of the Seventh Army Symphony, by John Canarina (bass and conductor in 1959-60), 1998.  50 b/w illus., musical examples, 224 pages, 6 x 9, $99. Available via Print on Demand from Boydell & Brewer, 668 Mount Hope Avenue Rochester, NY 14620-2731, 585-275-0419. Former 7ASO members should be able to get a 25 per cent discount.
Kenneth Schermerhorn: He Will Always Be the Music, by Martha Rivers Ingram with D. B. Kellogg, 2006. 65 photos, 391 pages. (Ken played trumpet and conducted in 1953-55). Available online from Amazon and other sellers.
Also of interest are several books that include stories about the orchestra, by David Amram, Michael Colgrass, and John Sant'Ambrogio.
Lost Sheep List
(Updated 3/13/22)
remove Peter Smith
In Memoriam
(Updated 6/2/24)
William McColl
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© 1997-2024 Ronald V. Rhodes & Christopher Earnest  (last update - July 7, 2024)

      E-Mail: Chris Earnest