In 1965 a group of amateur musicians in Lakeland, Florida, led by Florida Southern College Music Professor Kenneth Anderson and local businessman Jay Erwin, founded the Lakeland Civic Symphony. Initially consisting of 25 to 30 volunteer musicians, the Symphony staged only a handful concerts a year and its subscripton policy consisted of a glass jar marked "donations" at the entrance to the concert site.
Gradually the organization grew and became more formalized , though its musicians are still largely amateurs drawn from the local community. In 1987 the Symphony changed its name to the Imperial Symphony Orchestra to more accurately reflect its appeal throughout Imperial Polk County. Today the Imperial Symphony orchestra is a "regional community orchestra of approximately 80 musicians, mostly volunteer, with an annual budget of $500,000." (See the ISO website www.imperialsymphony.org) It stages some ten performances a year, mostly at the city owned Youkey Theater in the Lakeland Center.
What follows is a small collection of posters advertising some of the Imperial Symphony Orchestra's many performances.