The Mid-Columbia Symphony is renowned throughout our region and across the generations for inspiring a love of orchestral music.

We will sustain a high-quality, classically-trained orchestra to provide inspiring music through traditional and family-friendly concerts and community outreach. Specifically, we will

  • Develop a loyal sponsor base and sustain an income sufficient to attain our vision;
  • employ artistically superior musical leadership and musicians;
  • provide excellent concert experiences for our patrons; and
  • sustain a renowned youth program in music education and performance.


In 1945, the “Richland Choral Society and Concert Orchestra” presented Handel’s Messiah at Columbia (now Richland) High School. The 80-member chorus and orchestra had been created by Sydney Irving, an imported scientist in the Hanford Project who had a passion for classical choral musical.

Drawing on the incidental musical training and talents of other project people and their spouses, he was determined to bring culture to what seemed to many imported scientists to be a “cultural wasteland.” Their audience was mainly people working on the vast government project, which for the sake of secrecy (few people on the project knew its wartime purpose) was scarcely connected to the tiny farming towns to the south. The only significant town was Pasco, being on a rail line and having the region’s only airport (Pasco was a pioneer in air mail).

By the 1950s, the Symphony was staging collaborations with the resident Mastersingers, the Walla Walla Symphony, and small ensembles throughout the area, providing a hub for the region’s musical enthusiasts, and an outlet for its players. By the ’60s, the Symphony had established the Young Artists Competition, where talented youth competed in adjudicated contests. The winners then soloed with the full Symphony, as they do to this day/ By 1970, our musical leadership matured and our repertoire expanded to guest artists such as Mary Costa, Paul Creston, Earl Wild, and Marisa Galvany performed and conducted. International icons such as Celedonio Romero, Albert Markov, and Yo-Yo Ma performed in our no-longer cultural wasteland.

Thus began today’s regional Mid-Columbia Symphony, which today serves a metropolitan area approaching 300,000 people—the Tri-Cities and the Mid-Columbia Region beyond. In 1956 the Symphony began its Society Guild “to assist the Mid-Columbia Symphony.” Ultimately the membership expanded to dozens of people helping to raise the funds needed to attain today’s Mid-Columbia Symphony.


Our Organization

The Mid-Columbia Symphony Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that sustains the Symphony financially. We employ dozens of the region’s finest professional musicians in seated positions, supplemented by other local and extra-regional artists depending on the size of each concert. Our programming is predominantly classical, but includes orchestral renditions of modern music, such as movie themes and programs for younger audiences.

Performance Schedule

The Symphony currently produces five concerts each season, occasionally featuring guest artists and collaborating with other regional performing arts organizations. Mid-Columbia Symphony musicians also perform for other community events, including operas, festivals, and memorial concerts.



As part of our education program, we organize and sponsor an annual Young Artists Competition and feature the winners in one of our concerts each year. We also strive to maintain a Music in Schools program and work with youth in our Mid-Columbia Youth Orchestras program.
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