Lancaster Fest Director Departs; Interim to be Named

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After a transitional year under the leadership of Joe Piccolo, the Lancaster Festival and Piccolo have announced they are moving forward in separate directions.

Piccolo, who had served in the position since January, gave Lancaster Festival’s board of directors his notice on Wednesday, Oct. 20. Mr. Piccolo, originally from the Cleveland area, has decided to move back as he continues his MBA.

“It has been an absolute honor to have served as Executive Director of the Lancaster Festival. My sincerest thanks go out to Artistic Director Gary Sheldon, my fellow staff members, our amazing volunteers, the Board of Directors and to all of the generous community members for welcoming me into your city and for continuing to support such an impressive organization. We have accomplished so much in a short 10 months, and I am happy to leave the Festival in a good position for the next season and many more to come. All of my best wishes for successful seasons well into the future.”

“The Lancaster Festival is very appreciative of Joe and fortunate for his time with the Festival,” board President Benjy Uhl said. “The last 10 months have been very productive and Joe has made great strides and helped set a strong direction for the Festival.”

“I was sorry to hear that Joe will not continue with the Festival. I enjoyed working with him and he brought some very good ideas to us which we will continue to pursue,” added Artistic Director Gary Sheldon.

Uhl said the Festival board is actively discussing the next steps and evaluate the needs of the Lancaster Festival. The Lancaster Festival will announce an interim director in the coming days as the 2016 Festival season enters the planning stage.

Since 1985, the Lancaster Festival has continued its mission to nurture and promote the artistic growth for the Lancaster community. In recent years, the Lancaster Festival Orchestra was the winner of The American Prize, beating out 50 other orchestras representing 26 states, as well as held major performances of Disney’s Fantasia in 2014 and two world premieres in 2011: 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.

Inaugurated in 1985, the Lancaster Festival is a multi-faceted 10-day event that transforms the city of Lancaster, Ohio with musical performances and family activities while getting local businesses, museums and residents involved. With the help of nearly 800 volunteers and the support of corporate and individual donors, service contributors and program advertisers, the annual Festival supports the local economy as well as the local arts.