Don’t miss outstanding upcoming performances from the Yakima Symphony Orchestra!
In an area known for its rich farmland and agricultural beginnings, it’s not surprising that cultural endeavors in the Yakima Valley started with the farming families. The first farmer to plant hops in the Yakima Valley was also the first to pick up a violin and start a small orchestra that played public concerts. The Yakima Symphony Orchestra traces its beginnings back to the 1880s and the hop farmer that started it all was Mr. Charles Carpenter.
Charles Carpenter came to the Yakima Valley in 1868 from Constable, New York, with cuttings from the family hop farm. He is credited with planting the first hops west of Union Gap, in Ahtanum, and was the first number one hop supplier in the Pacific NW. Today, Charles’ great-grandson, Steve Carpenter, is Chief Supply Chain Officer of Yakima Chief Hops, the current number one hop-supply company in the Pacific Northwest. That’s 6 generations of Carpenters in the hop industry.
The Symphony is Born
Those early beginnings on the hop farm led to a local group of Yakima musicians forming the Yakima Civic Symphony, and then to 1967 when the chamber orchestra was organized by a dozen musicians with Brooke Creswell, conductor. This orchestra operated under the auspices of Yakima Valley Community College. They gained support in 1971 by the “Patrons of Music” an autonomous nonprofit organization.
Now in its fourth decade, the Yakima Symphony Orchestras’ home base is the Capitol Theatre with current Music Director, Lawrence Golan. The YSO has grown to two youth orchestras; the Yakima Youth Symphony Orchestra (YYSO) and Yakima Ensemble for Strings (YES!) and the 100-voice Yakima Symphony Chorus. The orchestra has garnered two ASCAP awards for adventurous programming.
Two of the more adventurous upcoming concerts are part of the Pops Series. The orchestra will be welcoming Wylie Gustafson, an American Original—gifted singer, songwriter, rancher, horseman, and the world-famous Yahoo!® yodeler. You may have seen Wylie & his band play in Yakima before but this will be a totally different experience. Look forward to a symphonic evening of cowboy songs, folk music, traditional country and a little yodeling with Wylie Gustafson and friends. Pos IV is February 23, 2019.
On May 11, 2019, don’t miss Pops V, A Tribute to Elvis Starring Kraig Parker. The world’s foremost Elvis Presley tribute artist joins the Yakima Symphony Orchestra in a salute to an American cultural icon. This phenomenal show will feature the YSO debut of guest conductor Michael Butterman. This is a world-class show. Parker has performed across America and Europe at casinos, performance halls, cruise ships and with major symphony orchestras, including headline shows in Las Vegas. “Kraig Parker’s powerful voice, electric moves and tasteful charisma will leave you ‘all shook up’ and screaming for more!”
Since the early beginnings, the Yakima Symphony Orchestra has relied on the community for support, both in musical talent and financially. Attend the Raise the Baton Gala in early April. This is their signature fundraiser. Occurring annually each spring, it is an elegant and lively event for 200 guests. The fun starts at 5 pm and includes musical performances, Zesta Cucina Cuisine, and an Auction at the 4th Street Theatre.
Make a plan to visit during their upcoming concerts or have Lunch with Lawrence during one of the regularly scheduled lunch dates for a chance to get to know the symphony’s current music director. There are four more concerts, one each month, in the Classical Series at the Historic Capitol Theatre—National Heroes in February, Knights in Shining Armor in March, Heroes from Olden Times in April and Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life) in May.