Toledo SymphonyLab™ Receives 2020 Touchstone Awards

Published Friday, October 23, 2020 9:00 am

The Press Club of Toledo awarded Toledo SymphonyLab™ the 2020 Touchstone Award for the Radio-Show/Series and Radio-Single Report categories at its annual awards ceremony Wednesday evening that was held virtually. Toledo Symphony Lab™ is now a four-time recipient of this prestigious award. Last year, Toledo SymphonyLab™ received the Touchstone Award for Excellence in Journalism in the Radio-Show/Series category.

“At a time when the performing arts are being decimated by the pandemic and organizations are looking for new ways to reach audiences, Toledo SymphonyLab™ continues to provide that connection between listener and performer,” says Brad Cresswell, WGTE Producer and Host. “Radio is a powerful yet intimate medium, whether people invite us into their homes, their car, or wherever they happen to be. The fact that we have been continually honored by the Press Club of Toledo is a testament to the strength and resilience of our local arts community.”

Toledo SymphonyLab™ is a radio podcast series produced by WGTE Public Media in collaboration with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra (TSO), providing a weekly, half hour behind-the-scenes look at the world of classical music. The episode which won the single report category was Stage Fright which featured clinical psychotherapist Erin Wiley in a behind-the-scenes look at how performance anxiety can manifest itself in the classical music world.

WGTE’s FM 91 host Brad Cresswell, joined by TSO panelists Zak Vassar (President & CEO), Alain Trudel (Music Director), Merwin Siu (Principal Second Violinist and Artistic Administrator), and Vanessa Gardner (Director of Marketing & Communications), brings a pop culture aesthetic to the storied world of classical music with lively discussions, quizzes, and audio “re-enactments” of historical events.

“Toledo SymphonyLab™ is now four years old, and I really admire what it has become,” says Zak Vassar, President & CEO of the TSO. “The program has facilitated a continuing dialogue about live performance across our community and beyond. It’s wildly funny at times and deeply sincere at others. Toledo SymphonyLab™ is emblematic of the warm and decades-long relationship between the Toledo Symphony and WGTE. That the program has received four Touchstone Awards over three years suggests that we are doing something important and special. I couldn’t be more proud.”

The podcast often features special appearances by TSO musicians, guest soloists, and community members. Past guests have included 13abc’s Tony Geftos, Hamilton star Renée Elise Goldsberry, and famed local astrologer Janet Amid. Episodes air on FM 91 on Wednesdays at 3:30 PM, and all previous episodes in their entirety can be found online at

The next episode of Toledo SymphonyLab™ will air on Wednesday, October 28, 2020 at 3:30 PM. For more information, or to listen to the podcast, please visit


WGTE Public Media is a non-profit organization and a center of learning and education for northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. Founded as an educational institute in 1953, education remains at the heart of what we do every day. From our entertaining, informative and educational programs that air on WGTE TV, FM 91, and to our professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers and preschool day care providers, WGTE helps to make northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan a better place to live.


The Toledo Symphony Orchestra is a community-supported organization of professional musicians and teachers who deliver quality performance and music education for all.

Formed in 1943 as The Friends of Music and incorporated in 1951 as the Toledo Orchestra Association, Inc., the Toledo Symphony Orchestra (TSO) has grown from a core group of twenty-two part-time musicians to a regional orchestra that employs sixty-nine professional musicians who consider the Toledo Symphony their primary employer, as well as numerous extra players annually as repertoire demands.

On January 1, 2019, the Toledo Symphony and Toledo Ballet officially merged to form the Toledo Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA), a new non-profit organization dedicated to providing exceptional live music and dance performances and education for the region. This partnership promises to create new and invigorating programs, provide cost and revenue synergies in operations, and integrate the arts through shared educational missions.

The Toledo Symphony reaches more than 260,000 individuals annually through performances and education programs. The series concerts (Masterworks, Pops, Chamber, and Family Series) are the critical underpinning of the orchestra’s artistic mission and regularly draw people from 135 postal zip codes. Education programs, student performances, and community concerts are held in schools, neighborhood churches, performing arts centers, and community facilities throughout the region; many are offered at no charge or provided at a reduced fee to help expand participation.

The Toledo Symphony Orchestra has events all year round. View our upcoming performance schedule now.

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