Lancaster Festival fireworks
The 2015 Lancaster Festival is scheduled for July 23-Aug. 1 (photo: Zach Bowman)

New Lancaster Fest Director Excited About 2015 Season

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The new executive director of the Lancaster Festival says he’s very excited about the Ohio University Lancaster Campus’ outdoor and indoor concert venues and is looking forward to working with the campus in the future. Joe Piccolo started in his new role on Jan. 12.

“It’s been very busy,” he said. “Planning for the 2015 season is well underway and it’s off to a fantastic start.”

Piccolo, originally from Northern Ohio, is a classically trained musician with an extensive career in the arts, including festival production and business experience.

Most recently, Piccolo served as production manager of the Aspen Music Festival and School; a premier classical music festival presenting more than 300 musical events during its eight-week summer season.

He becomes just the second executive director after Lou Ross since the Lancaster Festival’s founding 30 years ago by Eleanor Hood and Barbara Hunzicker.

Joe Piccolo
Joe Piccolo

“I think I can bring all of those combined experiences to the Lancaster Festival,” said Piccolo. “My hope is to make future seasons just as successful as the seasons of the past.”

Piccolo said the OUL outdoor concert site was the first place he was taken when he came to Lancaster.

“I think it’s great. I think we’re going to take a nice good look at the facility and see how we can further improve it as time goes on. It’s a venue that has been important in the past and will be important in the future.”

Since its founding in 1985, the Lancaster Festival has grown into a multifaceted organization offering performance and education to Lancaster residents and neighboring communities.

In recent years, the Lancaster Festival has also begun providing music programming throughout the year as part of its Covered Bridge Music Series, a partnership with Ohio University Lancaster which utilizes OUL’s 475-seat indoor concert venue – the Wagner Theatre.

Piccolo said they are about halfway through the process of lining up acts for the 2015 season. He would like to launch the entire schedule simultaneously rather than releasing events to the public one at a time.

In recent years the Lancaster Festival has boasted several major and acclaimed performances including Disney’s Fantasia Live in Concert in 2014; two world premieres in 2011 of Patrick Hawes choral work Te Deum performed by the Lancaster Festival Orchestra and the Lancaster Chorale on opening night; and Pinocchio, a ballet choreographed and danced by BalletMet to the music of Hungarian composer David Kiraly.

Piccolo said that he is already starting to feel at home in Lancaster. He has met many community members and has found a place to live that is within walking distance of the Lancaster Festival offices downtown.

“I really love this town. I’ve driven around a bit and spoken with residents. I’m big on getting to know people, getting to know their vision of the future of the festival in their eyes,” he said. “Each day I get more and more indications that this move was meant to be.”