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Father and Son Team Up for a Sneak Peek at the Canton Symphony

UPublish story by Irene Barker

No one would have ever guessed that being a classical music critic would be an inherited trait. But don’t tell Brett Amacher that. His son, Callum Amacher, is about to begin his third season previewing and reviewing Canton Symphony Orchestra performances. Now only 12 years old, Callum started blogging about the orchestra’s concerts at age 10. With his dad, he maintains a blog (, a YouTube channel (, and a Twitter account (, where he provides keen insights on the artists, the composers, and the performance quality of the various concert series – pops, classical and casual.

“Dad” Amacher’s critiquing career started in the print business, as a correspondent for The Repository. His son, however started in the digital space writing for the aforementioned blog.

Now the two are teaming up in what would be considered an old-school-traditional forum: the library. The Amachers make their first presentation at the Stark County District Library’s Sandy Valley Branch on September 16, followed by the Plain Community Branch on September 25. They’ll also appear at the North Canton Public Library on October 1. Each program begins at 6:30 p.m. and lasts for about one hour.

Dubbed “Symphony Sneak Peek,” father and son Amacher plan to make the presentations fast-paced and fun. Each sneak peek will include audio excerpts from the many varied concerts, and some video as well. They will briefly discuss the guest artists and highlight a few interesting stories behind the music.

“Our partnership with the Canton Symphony Orchestra is already great, but bringing the Symphony Sneak Peek to the library branches is just amazing. I can’t wait to hear the dialogue between Mr. Amacher and his son. Callum provides a young adult’s perspective on music that no adult could. It’s really fantastic,” commented Tena Wilson, Executive Director of the Stark County District Library.

“If you had told me when Callum was born that he’d be writing about classical music by his age, I would have laughed. But here he is doing it and readers really seem to enjoy what he has to say,” stated Mr. Amacher. “He looks forward to each concert with the same kind of excitement I felt at his age, and to be able to watch and listen through his eyes and ears is priceless. When Lisa Boyer, the orchestra’s Director of Education & Community Engagement, approached us with the concept of writing a blog about our experiences with the CSO, Callum was of course very nervous about doing it, but we thought it was a fantastic, very unique idea. He loves this orchestra, and really enjoys the chance to tell others how great it is.”

Symphony Sneak Peeks are free to attend. There are no reservations required – just show up and enjoy.

Tickets for the symphony series start at a very affordable $15 for Casual, $18 for Pops and $25 for Masterworks concerts. There are senior, student and group discounts available. Dress is casual and appropriate for ages 8 and older. Tickets and the full concert season schedule are available online at, by calling 330-452-2094, or by walk-up at individual concerts. Some concerts do sell out in advance.

Founded in 1937, the Canton Symphony Orchestra is a fully professional ensemble and organization dedicated to performing concerts that enrich, educate and entertain. Under the direction of Gerhardt Zimmermann, the orchestra performs classical, pops, holiday, and educational programs. Most performances are in Umstattd Performing Arts Hall, 2323 17th Street NW, Canton, Ohio (at McKinley High School across from C.T. Branin Natatorium). Parking at McKinley High School is free. For more information, please visit


Mr. Amacher’s love of classical music started at an early age, thanks especially to attending Canton Symphony concerts with his parents, as well as his dad's record collection. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in music education from Bowling Green State University, where he studied conducting for two years at the graduate level with Robert Spano (Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra). He has since held various management and marketing positions within the music and book retail industry, including retail manager with The Cleveland Orchestra. He is currently in Performance & Productivity with GE Capital Retail Finance. He was The Repository's classical music critic from 1994-1999.

Outside of his school activities, Callum takes piano lessons, plays trombone in his school band, composes music, plays tennis, studies the Japanese language, participates in his church youth group, and plays video games.

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