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The Centralia Philharmonic Orchestra traces its origins to a civic committee formed to encourage the establishment of cultural amenities in the city. The ensemble's first performance was on May 18, 1961 under the direction of J. T. Alexander. The concert was presented as part of a Festival of Fine Arts that led that fall to the founding of the Centralia Cultural Society, an umbrella fine arts organization. An earlier ensemble with the name Centralia Philharmonic Orchestra existed in the late 1800s, but it has no relationship to the current organization.
Today's orchestra is a member organization of the Centralia Cultural Society which operates a fine and performing arts center adjacent to Foundation Park in Centralia. The Philharmonic is a volunteer ensemble with approximately 40 members that presents a season of concerts from September through May. Members come from a 70-mile radius and represent 20 communities.
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