The Warren Symphony Society, Inc., parent organization of the Warren Philharmonic Orchestra, was founded in June 1965 and has been a nonprofit organization since its inception. Its mission is to provide cultural experiences and music education throughout the Mahoning Valley. The primary goal is to provide cultural experiences that enrich the lives of all citizens, especially children.
During the first five years of existence, the WPO was called the Warren Symphony Society, and for three seasons was conducted by John Blackwell. In 1968, when Dr. George Zack became the music director and conductor, the name was changed to the Warren Chamber Orchestra, operating still as a nonprofit organization under the original Articles of Incorporation of the Warren Symphony Society. Dr. Zack currently holds the title of Conductor Laureate. In the 1990s Dr. Zack began a partnership with Trumbull County schools that continues to provide student instructional concerts for thousands of youth who would not otherwise be exposed to stringed instruments.
In 1999-2000 the Warren Chamber Orchestra became a full-sized orchestra and was renamed the Warren Philharmonic Orchestra to reflect that change. Renowned conductor Susan Davenny Wyner was named music director and conductor. Thereafter, musical programming and youth outreach expanded to include CDs of pre-recorded samples of orchestral music to be used by third through eighth grade teachers in the classroom culminating in an annual Art in Music Contest.
The Strings of Joy program was created in 2013 to provide free violin instruction to students in Warren City Schools and was initiated at Jefferson and Willard K-8 buildings. The after-school program was offered to students who wished to participate and used donated violins. Strings of Joy was revised in 2016 to offer instruction to selected Trumbull County students in grades three through seven. Instructors are WPO orchestra members and other professional musicians who are paid under a separate fund consisting of grants and community organization and individual donations. The orchestra plans to expand Strings of Joy as funds become available.