The Nebo Philharmonic is a community orchestra based in southern Utah County. Founded in 2006, we perform affordable family-friendly concerts as a service to the community. We hope you’ll enjoy these opportunities to hear live performances of music that has shaped the world.
Performers are all volunteers, coming from a variety of age groups, backgrounds, and skill levels. If you play an instrument, please consider joining us!
Paul Wells is the director of orchestras at Salem Hills High School, which was recognized by the National Federation of High Schools as the Performing Arts School of Excellence for the United States in 2021. He also teaches at Salem Junior High School and Valley View Middle School in Salem, Utah, both of which programs he founded, and directs the school district’s two youth orchestras, the Nebo Youth Philharmonic and Nebo Youth Sinfonia, which he helped establish. In addition, he conducted the 2021 Utah Junior High All State Orchestra, and served as past president of the Utah chapter of the American String Teachers Association. Although he often refers to the 300+ musicians he directs as his ‘kids’, he is actually the proud father of (only) seven and is happy to call Salem home.
The Nebo Philharmonic Orchestra was organized in 2006. Carolyn Sorensen approached the Spanish Fork Arts Council with the idea, asked Benjamin Winkler to conduct, and worked together with him to recruit members. The orchestra debuted at the Spanish Fork Harvest Moon Hurrah on October 7, performing patriotic selections including “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” This was followed in November by a premiere concert, “Off to the Hunt!”, with performances in Spanish Fork and Payson.
Highlights under Winkler’s leadership include performing an adaptation of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel with the Classical Ballet Academy in 2008; a joint concert with the Oquirrh Mountain Symphony (now Utah Philharmonic) honoring veterans at the Spanish Fork Armory on Veterans Day, November 11, 2011; and a lunar-themed outdoor evening concert in the summer of 2012, performing as the full moon rose.
In 2013, the orchestra became an independent nonprofit, expanding its mission to serve the communities throughout the region, including Springville, Spanish Fork, Salem, and Payson. Laurisa Christofferson began conducting in 2014, and Sherrie Dunford took over in 2016. Under their artistic leadership, the orchestra has continued to grow and develop. It still performs annually at the Harvest Moon Hurrah, and has added new traditions like the Salem Pond Christmas Lighting and children’s concerts at the Springville Library.
We’ve collaborated with many local groups over the years, including the Payson Civic Chorale, Spanish Fork Chorale, Pleasant Grove Orchestra, Utah Philharmonic Orchestra, Utah Valley Handbell Ringers, and high school groups from Spanish Fork and Salem Hills.