Twenty-five years ago, an audacious idea was born. Knowing that Tallahassee was without a music series that brought professionals to town to perform, tenor Waldie Anderson, pianist Carolyn Bridger, and clarinetist Ginny Densmore decided to do something about it. They started what would become The Artist Series of Tallahassee to work in partnership with the newly formed Big Bend Community Orchestra. With tax exempt status, an office in Carolyn and Waldie’s house, the use of their personal phone number, and a commitment from other volunteer community members like me, we were off and running.
Through the years, countless Tallahassee music lovers have served on the Board of Directors and in the Guild, which I proposed several years after our founding to provide welcome and hospitality to our artists and help with social events and fundraising. During our twenty-five seasons, Artist Series performances have been presented in many spots throughout Tallahassee, including Lee Hall, East Hill Baptist Church, Trinity United Methodist Church, the Co-Cathedral of St. Thomas More, Faith Presbyterian Church, Ruby Diamond Concert Hall, and our current home, Opperman Music Hall. We are grateful to the Florida State University College of Music for allowing us to rent this beautiful space (Opperman Hall), which is without question Tallahassee’s premiere spot for classical chamber music.
I am happy to report that through the years the Artist Series has become known for the consistently high quality of the musical artists that we present and for our continued commitment to educating and stimulating interest in classical music among the youth in our area. From our first concert on April 30th, 1995 until today, we have cultivated a family of loyal supporters who come to our concerts expecting to be inspired by live professional classical music concerts. The performances that The Artist Series presents lift our spirits and help to build a sense of community here in Tallahassee.
A quote in our 10th season brochure read, “Beautiful music, exceptional performances, satisfied listeners—this is our pledge to you now and in the future!!” Those words are as true today as they were then. So here’s to you, Waldie and Carolyn, who now make music in heaven, and to Ginny who makes music here on earth in Tallahassee. Thank you for your vision for The Artist Series of Tallahassee.
We pledge to do our best to continue to support and sustain your musical gift for years to come.
Dr. Waldie Anderson was born on February 5, 1930 in Aberdeen, WA, the son of Alfred and Waldina (Asplund) Liljekvist Anderson. He graduated from Aberdeen High School, earned a bachelors degree from Central Washington University, a Masters degree from the University of Michigan, and did doctoral studies at the University of Michigan. Waldie was a professional tenor, bassoonist, and conductor. He taught music at Davenport (IA) High School, the Interlochen Center for the Arts, University of Texas, Florida State University, the University of Michigan, and Michigan State University. He had many interests. He coached baseball, was an official for soccer and softball, was a frequent tenor soloist worldwide, and founded the Big Bend Community Orchestra and the Artist Series of Tallahassee. Waldie was Tallahassee’s Volunteer of the Year in the Arts in 1995. Waldie was married to Carolyn Bridger. Waldie passed away in 2011.
A renowned pianist, Dr. Carolyn Bridger had a long career on the music faculty at Florida State University, and her extended family includes former students and colleagues worldwide, whom she often visited in her extensive world travels. She was principal keyboardist for the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra. Her long-time association with Interlochen Arts Camp spanned nearly 60 years as a student, faculty member and patron. Dr. Bridger received her bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, her master’s from Indiana University and her doctorate from the University of Iowa. Extremely active in the music community and many professional organizations, she was also a member of Trinity United Methodist Church and P.E.O. Chapter CL in Tallahassee. Along with her husband, Waldie, Carolyn was a founder of The Artist Series of Tallahassee. Dr. Bridger passed away in 2014.
Ginny Densmore is a retired elementary school teacher. Ginny, along with Waldie Anderson and Carolyn Bridger, founded the Big Bend Community Orchestra and The Artist Series of Tallahassee. Recently, she joined the Tallahassee Symphony Society, which supports the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, and was quickly posted to a position in 2018 as the music chair for their annual Tour of Homes fundraiser. As a child, Ginny learned to play the clarinet. She soon mastered the fickleness of the instrument and served as the principal clarinetist for the Middle Tennessee State College and the Sewanee Summer Music Center Orchestra. She went on to major in music education at Florida State University, following in her mother’s footsteps as a teacher. Densmore performed with FSU’s orchestra, opera orchestra, symphonic band, circus band and the marching chiefs, and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees before beginning her journey as a teacher at Sabal Palm Elementary School. She went on to a 25-year career at Florida High School teaching general music to kindergarten through fourth grade. Ginny fell in love with teaching the smaller children since that is when a passion for music is first ignited.