The Orleans Renaissance Group began with a humble dream one late-winter afternoon in 1998… a pipe-dream between Skip Draper and Chris Busch, both of Medina. Their reverie: “Wouldn’t it be something if we could get the Buffalo Philharmonic to come to Medina? … and wouldn’t it really be something if the concert were held in Historic St. Mary’s Church?” Draper took a chance and contacted the BPO … and they said yes. Soon, they were meeting with Maestro Paul Ferington and the rest, as they say, is history.
Draper and Busch went on to form the Orleans Renaissance Group, Inc. along with Marsha Winters, and the late Sally Webster, both of Medina. Their original mission was to bring cultural events to the Medina/Orleans County area, and so they did.
The BPO performed in Medina, and appeared to a sold-out audience at historic St. Mary’s Church on several occasions. However, times and lives changed, and the group went on a brief “hiatus.”
Today The Orleans Renaissance Group– or ORG– is back with new blood, renewed vigor, and a bigger mission.
In 2009, Andrew Meier, Busch and Draper had another pipe-dream. Long sitting idle , looming large and mysterious over Medina’s Downtown Historic District was Bent’s Opera House– one of the oldest surviving opera houses in the United States. A place of mystery and legend, generations of citizens gazed up at it’s 1865 sandstone walls and wondered: “What if?…”
The had one sole tenant– the Bank of America. Once again, a chance enquiry was made and within months, the Civil War Era opera house was in the hands of ORG. So began the group’s journey into preservation– a fantastic journey that has seen partnerships with the likes of the Preservation League Of New York State and the beginning of a “renaissance” for Bent’s that will see it restored as a regional performance and agritourism destination.
In recent years ORG concert events have featured The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, world-renown Anonyous 4, the Genesee Chorale & Orchestra, the BPO Holiday Brass, the Greycliffe String Quartet, the SUNY Fredonia School of Music Trombone Choir, the Genesee Symphony Orchestra and many more. ORG’s preservation work with Bent’s Opera House is well-known around the country and has been showcased at several prestigious preservation events. In 2012, an important milestone was reached when Bent’s Opera House was designated a Seven-to Save site for 2012-2013 by the Preservation League of New York State.
ORG is on the move– a vital and vibrant organization. They continue to grow and are more committed than ever to their mission.
The Orleans Renaissance Group– Credible. Professional. Innovative. Promoting the arts and preservation in Medina and across Western New York.