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.

 We hope you enjoyed that story. If you're interested in where all that information and those pictures came from, there's more to share. What follows is the result of a lot of initiative and hard work by Michael Townsend, who volunteered to organize many historic files in our office, and then served as our Concert Manager during the shortened 2021-2022 season.


The photos are from an anniversary album put together from a few crates worth of old newspaper clippings, posters, and whatnot that Michael found in our office, which you're free (with an appointment--call (509) 943-6602)  to come and examine, if you don't mind its organization (or lack thereof). Here's a link to the album as a PowerPoint file, but we have even more than what you will see in it.


Celebrating 60 Years of Mid-Columbia Symphony


Additionally, Michael put 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 our history!  At some point it should be coming to the website proper in a more form more easily parsed (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 in our top menu.

Contact Us

Mid-Columbia Symphony Office

MacHunter Building

1177 Jadwin Avenue, Suite 103

Richland, WA 99352

Office Hours

Monday-Thursday 10:00 - 2:00

Our 2022-2023 Season concert programs will be:

*​*September 11th—Sunday @ 3:30pm —Richland High School Auditorium

Molly Joyce Fresh    

Augusta Holmes Irlande

Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade

**Date changed due to conflict with the MCAF Donor Appreciation event the evening of Sep 10th

October 29th—Saturday @ 7:30pm —Richland High School Auditorium

Beethoven Coriolan Overture    

Gounod Funeral March of A Marionette

Galindo Sones de Mariachi

Lloyd Webber Selections from Phantom of the Opera

Arturo Marquez Conga del Fuego Neuvo   

John Williams Suite from 'Jaws'

Arnold Tam O'Shanter    

Crawford Andante for Strings    

Liadov Enchanted Lake

February 5th—Sunday @ 3:30pm —

Ellen Taafe Zwillich Concerto Grosso 1985

Alvin Part Adam's Lament

Vaughn Williams Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

Respighi Suite of Ancient Dances and Airs #2


March 18th  and 19th–Saturday@7:30pm & Sunday@3:30pm — Richland High School Auditorium

Tan Dun Overture: Dragon and Phoenix

Grieg Peer Gynt Suite #1

Mary D. Watkins Once Upon A Time

Dukas Sorcerer's Apprentice

Ravel Mother Goose Suite

John Williams Suite from 'Superman'


June 3—Saturday @ 7:30pm—

Schubert Symphony No. 8, 'Unfinished'    

Michael Torke Book of Proverbs

and Young Artist Competition Winners!