Wayne Reinecke started his musical career in 1950 when he began studying violin with Ruth Haroldson, the Rio Hondo Symphony’s founder and first conductor. He received his A.B. degree at Whittier College, a Master of Arts degree at California State University at Long Beach.
Reinecke was assistant professor of music at Pasadena City College when he founded the Pasadena Community Orchestra in 1983 and became its first Music Director and conductor. He served the community as a music educator in California schools from grades one through junior college for thirty years prior to leading the PCO, including eleven years as orchestra director at Arcadia High School. The PCO performed at the Methodist Church of Pasadena from 1983 to 1988 before moving to the (Pasadena) Church of the Nazarene. Reinecke explained, “It offers new opportunities, plus it presents the orchestra in a more attractive format with favorable lighting and acoustics.” He retired from the Music Department at Pasadena City College in 1995, ending his term of eighteen years at that institution.
In addition to leading the PCO, Wayne was appointed conductor and music director of the Rio Honda orchestra by the symphony association board July 1, 1988. Reinecke was the Rio Hondo Symphony’s fifth conductor in 56 years. He succeeded Hans Lampl, who resigned at the end of the 1987-88 season after 12 years with the orchestra.
Various agencies and groups have recognized him throughout his career. In 1970 he receive the Outstanding Young Educator Award from the Arcadia Jaycees. More recently the Pasadena Arts Council recognized him when he was given a Gold Crown Award for contributions to music in the community. He also holds honorary life memberships in the PTA and the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association. Reinecke plays violin and clarinet and has played in a number of Community Orchestras in Southern California including Riverside, Long Beach, Inland and Rio Hondo symphonies and served as Assistant Conductor of the San Gabriel Valley Symphony for nine years. He remains active in chamber music and maintains contact with the educational field.
After twenty-five years at the helm of the PCO, Reinecke retired from the podium at the conclusion of the 2007-2008 season. Reinecke’s wife, Susanne, was principal viola in the PCO and also retired in 2008. For Reinecke, retirement will bring a chance to do some of the things that haven’t been possible while running two orchestras. Explains Reinecke, “there are always things have to be done week in and week out. Now, we’re looking forward to seeing fall colors in the Northeast and we’re going to take a train trip across Canada to get there.”