Our History

Inception and Inheritance

Like many enterprises in the Tri-Cities, the Mid-Columbia Symphony's origins are inextricably bound up in the legacy of the Second World War. It was in the winter of 1945 that Sidney Irving and a company of talented amateur artists, largely derived from the ranks of Hanford's staff, united in solidarity for the love of music and a desire for fellowship. 

The early years of the Symphony marked a slow but steady pace into public acclaim, drawing on its emphatic spotlights of local musicians. By the 1950s, the Symphony was already 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. At the onset of the 60's, the Symphony was ready to establish a whole new tradition in the form of its young artists competitions. Earnest youth were given the opportunity to prove their talents, dedication, and passion to the community at large, with the winners joining the adults in their own performances.


By 1970, word of the Symphony had begun spread beyond the basin. Suddenly, it was Mary Costa, Paul Creston, Earl Wild, and Marisa Galvany singing, conducting, and playing their way across our humble stage. Come too were the international icons of Celedonio Romero, Albert Markov, and Yo-Yo Ma. Every concert had become a feature.

At the end of the decade, it was undeniable that the Symphony had settled in as a central part of the Tri-Cities' culture. It continued to pride itself, as it always had, in bringing together a variety of artistic genres, mediums, and performers that could be relied upon by the community to convey their greatest joys, and console their deepest doubts.

We continue to operate another forty years later, still committed to ideals of inspiring orchestral music and an embracing atmosphere. This page serves as a small dedication to the members of our organization, and all of its supporters, without whom the Mid-Columbia Symphony could not exist. Thank you.

Hi, this is Michael Townsend, the current MCS Concert Master! I hope you enjoyed that little story, and I can tell that you're hungry for more. Perhaps you're interested in where all that information and those pictures came from? Well there's lots to share.


The photos are from an anniversary album put together from a few crates worth of old newspaper clippings, posters, and whatnot that we have here around the office, which you're free to come and have a look at if you don't mind its organization (or lack thereof). Here's a link to the album as a powerpoint, but I assure you we have even more than what that shows.


Celebrating 60 Years of Mid-Columbia Symphony


Additionally, I've been putting together a spreadsheet of all the information contained in our concert programs since the Symphony's inception. Have you ever wanted to know what songs we played in the December of 1956? Or who won the 6th ever Young Artist Competition? Or maybe what companies sponsored the symphony in 1980?


Not all of the data has been fully entered, and it currently lacks a finalized visual polish, but feel free to look through our vast catalogue of history!

At some point it should be coming to the website proper in a more parsable form (but not for a while).


Link to the Spreadsheet

Otherwise, feel free to look around some of the other pages listed under the Archives tab!