History of the Valley Symphony Orchestra
1984: The Valley Symphony Chorale joined STSA
2000: STSA assumed sponsorship of the Rio Grande Valley International Music Festival, contnuing to provide live orchestra concerts for elementary school children
2001: Maestro Peter Dabrowski, Music Director/Conductor
2002: STSA began sponsoring chamber music recitals, workshops and master classes
2005: STSA began sponsoring the South Texas Youth Symphony
2007: STSA celebrated the 55th Season of the VSO
2012: Dr. David Means, Choral Conductor joins the VSO
2016: STSA enters its 65th Season of the VSO
Founded in 1952 at the formerly named University of Texas – Pan American as an orchestra of volunteer musicians, the Valley Symphony Orchestra (VSO) has grown into the 90+ musician Valley Symphony Orchestra, and the 100+ volunteer Valley Symphony Chorale. Our mission is to improve life in a diverse community through artistic excellence in the performance and preservation of great music. This mission will be achieved through excellence in the life performances of great music as we strive to engage, inspire, and educate the populations of the Rio Grande Valley.
A characteristic that sets the Valley Symphony Orchestra apart from the typical orchestras of other cities is our musicians. Our orchestra consists of valley-wide musicians who hold professions as medical physicians, fine arts directors, educators and college professors at South Texas College and University of Texas Rio Grande Valley when not performing with their instruments. Apart from showcasing local musicians and vocalists, VSO exposes the Rio Grande Valley to internationally and critically acclaimed soloists who join us as guest artists. The VSO has performed concerts throughout the lower Rio Grande Valley as well as Mexico cities such as Monterrey, Saltillo, and Ciudad Victoria.
In 1976, the corporate entity of the VSO, South Texas Symphony Association (STSA) was formed by community volunteers who not only wanted to maintain a symphonic orchestra in the RGV, but who found a need to support the development of public school string programs, a youth orchestra, summer music programs, chamber concerts, and educational concerts for school-age children in low-income communities.
VSO consists of three components that work towards our mission. Those components are: a symphonic season, which typically runs from September through May; the Chamber Concert Series; and the Children’s Education Concerts.
The Chamber Concert Series offers a unique musical experience to valley-wide residents by showcasing internationally renowned artists atop the Sky Tower Club overlooking the McAllen skyline on the 17th floor of the Chase Neuhaus Tower. In 2000, the Children’s Education Concerts, previously known as the Rio Grande Valley International Music Festival (RGVIMF) was created to address the need for cultural diversity, music education and initial exposure of the arts to low-income children in the Rio Grande Valley. Since then, VSO has performed for over 110,000 students between the ages of 8 and 15 years old. VSO has partnered with McAllen ISD and IDEA Public Schools to put on these concerts, and always welcomes other school districts to bring their students.
In 2001, Dr. Peter Dabrowski joined the symphony as its seventh Music Director/Conductor. Dabrowski is a world-class conductor, originally from Warsaw, Poland, who now provides unparalleled commitment to provide exhilarating musical performance and education to the Rio Grande Valley. He believes “Music has the power to change lives. As a conductor, it is [his] task to artistically unify the extraordinary talents of each musician into orchestral harmony.”
The VSO is an important part of the community fabric. Communities with orchestras attract volunteers, voters, philanthropists, and other active, civic-minded participants. The presence of an orchestra can be a community’s economic development. Continued support from our patrons and our local community is needed to sustain our current programs and provide more exciting performances to our audiences. To learn more about how you can support the Valley Symphony Orchestra, contact Vivian Vargas, Marketing Manager at (956) 661-1615 or email@example.com.