Since its founding in 1964, and incorporation in 1969, the orchestra has seen many of its students members and soloists graduate to various professional schools and eventual music careers. For our adult soloists, we have been the platform for the start of a concert career.
The symphony offers a service to the Forest Hills community and its surrounding environs. The elderly, without a comfortable and safe means of transportation do not seek out musical entertainment outside their neighborhoods. In the daylight hours they will congregate in a local park, or at a large indoor auditorium. We aim to be able to bring music to these people where they are without making them travel a significant distance. For our senior citizen orchestra members, being able to give these programs would move us closer towards our desire of community service in the form of musical entertainment. There is a great deal of spirit that can be galvanized if the proper performing environment were to exist.
Our regular concert audience is largely senior citizen. We offer more than 400 tickets per concert without charge to senior citizen centers and residential homes for the handicapped in the Forest Hills and Queens County area. Out programs are designed for this audience and their tastes. This, however, does not mean that we play down to them. We provide high quality classical and light classical music for this audience. We offer our programs at 2:00pm on three Sunday afternoons especially for this audience so that come to and from the concert does not entail their traveling after dark.
Mr. Franklin Verbsky received his B.A. from Queens College of CUNY and his M.A. from Hofstra University. He studied piano with various teachers, the last of whom were Arcadie and Marie Kouguell, and cello with Alexander Kouguell, Professor of Music at Queens College. He attended the Kneisel Hall at Blue Hill, Maine and at the Taos School of Music, in Taos, New Mexico.
Before assuming the duties of Conductor and Music Director of the Queens Festival Orchestra in March 1968, Mr. Verbsky was principal cello and appeared as soloist with the orchestra under the baton of founder/conductor Jerome Laszloffy. He also acted as Assistant Conductor.
Mr. Verbsky has played with several area orchestras,
i.e. Queens Symphony, and summer orchestra music festivals, i.e. New Hampshire Music Festival. He has also appeared in chamber music recitals in Town Hall and Lincoln Center. Presently he is a free-lance musician in the New York City, Long Island and Upstate areas.
He was principal cello of the Massapequa Philharmonic Orchestra for ten years and is conductor of the Island Senior Symphony String Orchestra in Huntington, which provides programs at assisted living and nursing home facilities and children’s concerts at area libraries. Most recently, Mr. Verbsky has been heard as soloist with the Island Senior Symphony, in cello concertos by Schumann and St. Saens.
Above and beyond his musical activities, Mr. Verbsky is an educator, having taught in the public schools of Nassau and Suffolk Counties from 1965 until his retirement in 1998. In those years he has taught all ages: elementary, junior high, high school and college students. Prior to retiring, Mr. Verbsky taught Orchestra at Uniondale High School and since 1985 is an adjunct Assistant Professor of Music at Hofstra University. Beginning in 2005, Mr. Verbsky has been teaching private instruction for cello at Five Towns College in Dix Hills. In a new program, originally sponsored by Hofstra University’s continuing education department, Mr. Verbsky began offering a program encouraging adults to begin learning to play a stringed instrument. New Horizons String Orchestra is now in its twelfth year. On October 18, 2012 Franklin Verbsky was honored by TSINY (Transitional Services, Inc. of New York), for his efforts since 1980 in Forest Hills, with the Queens Festival Orchestra Association, Inc aka Forest Hills Symphony Orchestra, to bring music performance to the adults and senior citizens both as players and audience in Forest Hills.