Student Playing Cello

Community Orchestra

The Ensemble

Symphony Orchestra logo

The Coe College Symphony Orchestra offers a comprehensive ensemble experience for students seeking to develop their orchestral playing skills, expand their studies on their instruments, and learn exciting repertoire. The CCSO exemplifies the collaborative spirit of a liberal arts education by including music majors, non-majors, and faculty members. Orchestra members enjoy the opportunity to perform multiple times per semester in a variety of orchestral and collaborative concerts in venues on campus, off campus, and on tour. The CCSO prides itself on maintaining high artistic standards and actively contributing to the vibrant musical culture at Coe and throughout the community.

   Our Director

Ghyas Zeidieh.jpgSyrian conductor and cellist, Dr. Ghyas Zeidieh is an active musician and educator in the Iowa and Illinois region. In addition to his position at Coe College, Zeidieh serves as the music director at both Kirkwood Community College and the Cedar Rapids Community Orchestra. He earned his Doctor of Musical Arts and Master’s Degree from the University of Iowa, and degrees in Music and Dentistry from the Damascus Conservatory and University.

A passionate educator for all ages, Zeidieh served as Instructor of Cello at Western Illinois University and was a member of the Julstrom faculty String Quartet. He has completed training in the Suzuki Association method in addition to teaching Orchestra in the Iowa City Community School District. Zeidieh is the former Program Coordinator at the Harmony School of Music in Cedar Rapids, served as the Music Director for the Dubuque Symphony Youth String Ensemble and Philharmonia from 2019-2022 and was recently the orchestra conductor for Theater Cedar Rapids’ Sound of Music. An active orchestral musician, Ghyas has played with many orchestras in the Middle East, including the National Syrian Orchestra, Syrian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Arab Youth Orchestra, and the Euro-Med Orchestra, can be heard on several Syrian film scores, and is a member of the Dubuque Symphony cello section. He has performed with numerous American ensembles including the National Geographic Midwestern Tour (MN and IL), Revival Theater Company (IA), Theater Cedar Rapids, Quincy Symphony (IL), and the Dirt Road Ensemble (NH). Since 2010, he has been involved with the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music in NH, serving as a Playing for Peace participant, counselor and camp director.


Upcoming Performances

Fall 2022 Concert Schedule to be announced soon!

Close-up of Two Hands Playing Piano

Can't join us in person? Live stream our concerts from home!


Members' Center

Upcoming Concerts

Fall Schedule coming soon!

Social Media

Join the CCSO Facebook group to stay up to date on daily rehearsal schedules, and like our page to help us publicize our events!

Rehearsal Schedule

The CCSO rehearses three times a week in Sinclair Auditorium and Marquis Room 1:

Mondays: 4:00-6:00 PM Strings Only (Room 1)
Tuesdays: 3:30-5:30 PM Winds, Brass & Percussion (Sinclair)
Wednesday: 4:00-6:00 PM All Members (Sinclair)

Symphony Orchestra History

Photographic evidence suggests that the orchestral tradition at Coe goes back to at least 1902. With starched collars and high-buttoned shoes the dozen or so participants of that coeducational ensemble held pose for an unidentified photographer in a picture that remains the earliest evidence of an orchestra on campus. The fact that it included both men and women is significant. Whatever developed from that early ensemble was washed away by the tide of World War I in 1913. It was not until 1924, a year after founding the Cedar Rapids Symphony at Coe, that Dr. Joseph Kitchin reorganized the Coe student orchestra. Dr. Kitchin, a well known faculty violinist and conductor, kept the orchestra thriving until his retirement in 1957. Since then several orchestral ensembles have evolved at the college. In 1957, the orchestra became known as the Coe-Promenade Orchestra, mixing community musicians with students and fulfilling the mission of music on the lighter side. The Promenade Orchestra was led by several conductors: Dallas Tjaden (1957-1962 and 1966-1967), Norman Stafford (1963-1965), Thomas Slattery (1967-1976), and Timothaeus Topolewski (1976-1981). From 1981 to 1984 the group was known as the Coe Chamber Orchestra. The Coe College Symphony Orchestra was later revived in 1995 by Dr. Jerry Owen.

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