Umpqua Symphony Association History & Mission

For over six decades, the Umpqua Symphony Association has sponsored opportunities for youth in Douglas County to develop their talents and perform for their community.


That exposure to and appreciation of performing arts enriches one’s life.

That the study of music is an important component of developing youth character.

In the value of bringing culture to underserved rural areas.

In providing affordable cultural experiences.

In providing unique performance and training opportunities for local musicians.

In the value of developing an appreciation of music in youth.

In the value of fostering local talent.


First Small Group Begins to Meet

In 1951, area music teachers and artists were searching for an outlet for their music and began playing together in each other’s homes. By 1955 the Roseburg Symphony Orchestra Association was formed to support the orchestra and bring guest artists and orchestras to the community in response to public demand.

Picture courtesy of the Douglas County Museum


USA Becomes a Non-Profit

The orchestra became a 501c3 (non-profit organization) in November of 1975 and the Umpqua Symphony Association (USA) was born. USA began sponsoring larger concerts such as the Western Opera Theater from San Francisco), the Portland Youth Philharmonic (the oldest youth orchestra in the United States), the Oregon Symphony and the Vienna Boys Choir. Concerts also included the Mozart Players, pianist Alexander Tutunov and the Eugene Ballet performance of “Tango” conducted by Miguel Harth-Bedoya.

Picture courtesy of the Douglas County Museum


Formation of Douglas County Youth Orchestra

In 1997 local musician and teacher Jean Hinkle had a vision of starting a youth orchestra in Douglas County. Diane Penny, a local band teacher, taught violin and rehearsals began at the Umpqua Valley Arts Center with 5 students. By 2000 the class had grown to 40. Filling an urgent need the Umpqua Symphony began administering the program, writing grants and soliciting donation to purchase instruments.

2021 and Beyond

We Continue to Support Community Music

USA continues to sponsor the Douglas County Youth Orchestra (DCYO) which has between 60 to 70 students each year. The DCYO meets weekly September through May and is taught by highly qualified instructors. The DCYO provides an outstanding opportunity for students of all ages to learn musical skills in a nurturing environment.

World-Class Concerts

USA has taken the lead to co-sponsor concerts with other presenting organizations such as the Eugene Symphony Orchestra, Live on Stage, Music on the Half Shell and the music department at Umpqua Community College. These combined efforts have resulted in world-class concerts for the residents of Douglas County.

The Umpqua Symphony Association and the Music on the Half Shell Committee have partnered for the past several years to bring the Eugene Symphony “Summer Pops Concert” to the Half Shell as well as “Pink Martini.” The Douglas County Youth Orchestra has been honored to open for these musicians, which is an incredible, once in a lifetime, opportunity for the students. USA also provides a smaller concert in either the fall or spring.


Help us support the next generation of musicians in Douglas County. Your gift will impact a child in positive ways that can ripple throughout our world.

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