Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony Orchestra now Butler Philharmonic

The Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony Orchestra has been a staple in the arts community since 1951, and the orchestra plans to keep entertaining far into the future. The only change will be to its name — the new moniker will be the Butler Philharmonic.

Paul John Stanbery, musical director and conductor of the orchestra, told the Journal-News that branding and marketing are important items to address in order to survive as a nonprofit. It was time to make a change in order to broaden the group’s appeal to a wider audience he added.

“For about 12 years now, we have had a standing committee, within the board of directors in the orchestra, which we call the Symphony Expansion Committee,” Stanbery said. “You know in the world of business and in the arts or nonprofits, you are either growing or dying. It’s one of the two because there is no such thing as status quo. In our case – what does that mean? It means growing, because we certainly don’t want to die.”

The branding part is important to Stanbery, who noticed that the Dayton Philharmonic and Cincinnati Philharmonic orchestras can play geographically anywhere, but are never questioned about why they are performing outside of their area.

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“Expanding our borders beyond Hamilton and Fairfield is something we’ve been discussing for some time,” Stanbery said. “Our name has a hyphen in it Hamilton-Fairfield and the hyphen is a very powerful little article. Without the hyphen - just being identified with Hamilton - we could play just about anywhere we wanted. Dayton and Cincinnati can play anyplace, but Hamilton-Fairfield limits us to those communities.

Over the past 12 years, the Symphony Expansion Committee wanted to come up with a name that didn’t exclude Hamilton or Fairfield, but included the entire area in the re-branding effort.

“Butler County has a great identity,” Stanbery said. “People from around here say ‘I’m from Butler County,’ not Northern Cincinnati or Southwest Ohio. The word philharmonic is Greek and means ‘lovers of sound.’ We want to bring people together from all walks of life to love music.”

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The new name has been in place since April 1, but the Hamilton-Fairfield name will continue to be used as changes in the website and other business details get ironed out.

“We will be the only professional orchestra in the county after the Middletown Orchestra performs for the last time on May 7,” Stanbery said.

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