The mission of the Roswell Symphony Orchestra (RSO) is to provide the people of Roswell and Southeast New Mexico with the best of orchestral literature by providing an annual concert season, RSO music education programs for children and youth and a multi-cultural chamber concert series.
Since its inception, an educational and cultural development program for the youth who are growing up in Roswell and Southeast New Mexico has been a primary goal of the RSO. The long-term goal of the RSO to extend this program to all fifteen area schools was met in the summer of 1996 and the 4 private schools in Roswell joined the program in 2000.
Now in its 47th season, the Roswell Symphony Orchestra’s musicians come from all of the major cities within a 200 mile radius of Roswell: Lubbock, Amarillo, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Las Cruces, El Paso, Portales, Alamogordo, and, of course, Roswell.
It all began in the basement of the First Methodist Church on July 28, 1959. That first group included lawyers, accountants, teachers, florists, housewives and geologists. Although not professional musicians, they were determined to give Roswell and southeast New Mexico a professional sounding orchestra. For a city the size of less than 40-thousand the formation of the Roswell Symphony Orchestra was quite an accomplishment.
Maestro John Farrer became the director of the RSO for the 1972 season. He followed William Kirschke, Thomas Lewis, and Glenn Cunningham, the first director of the RSO. Under the leadership of Maestro Farrer the RSO has earned a reputation for musical excellence by sharing with the under served target audience of southeast New Mexico the talents of professional musicians, many of whom have performed with renowned symphonies across the United States as well as in Canada and Europe.
The first concert season in 1960-1961 featured three concerts held in New Mexico Military Institute’s Pearson Auditorium. Since then the season has grown to include a Subscription Concert Series of five classical concerts in Pearson Auditorium featuring world renowned guest artists, a three concert Chamber Music Series held at the Roswell Museum and Art Center, five Children’s Educational Concerts for nearly 5,000 third, fourth and fifth graders in Roswell and Artesia, and a free Labor Day Pops Concert at Spring River Park and Zoo.