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The Imperial Valley Symphony is dedicated to providing quality performances to our community and a place for musicians from all walks of life a creative outlet to pursue their passions. 

The Imperial Valley Symphony (formerly the Imperial Valley Chamber Orchestra), located in Imperial County, California,  originally came from a group that met in September, 1974, at the home of Dr. Keith MacGaffey, well-known local physician, bassoonist, and musical impresario, who was constantly arranging instrumental ensembles to play for various functions—on that occasion, a chamber orchestra to play for the Elizabethan Festival of Sts. Peter and Paul Episcopal Church in El Centro.

Fate had brought three elements to the Valley at the same time—Dr. MacGaffey; Carolyn Sechrist, a master music teacher who had founded the string music program in the El Centro schools that provided the nucleus; and Joel Jacklich, newly arrived from San Diego, who had just taken over the Central Union High School Orchestra. During the first rehearsal, MacGaffey conducted while Jacklich played viola along with three others in that section. Jacklich noted the preponderance of violas and commented that his most serious training had been as a conductor; and MacGaffey, his preference for the bassoon, which was sorely lacking, over the baton. Next rehearsal, player and conductor permanently changed roles.

After joining together in the winter for several performances of Faure’s Requiem featuring the combined choirs of the Valley high schools, the little symphony officially launched itself with its own premiere concert in April featuring guest artist guitarist Pepe Romero. Musicians who had hitherto traveled to San Diego or to Yuma to play orchestral music, now had a local orchestra to call their own. In 2020, Mr. Jacklich stepped down as conductor and music director. Dr. Matthew Busse assumed the reins and now leads the IV Symphony.

Incorporated in 1977 and receiving non-profit, tax-exempt status for educational purposes from the State of California in 1977 (C08334352 P.B.) and from the Internal Revenue Service in 1978 (95-2975080 P.B.), the IVSA provides funding for the annual concert schedule of the Imperial Valley Symphony. In addition to its primary purpose of mounting concerts, the IVSA provides an active scholarship program including an annual Young Artists' Competition, private music study scholarships, and scholarships for summer music camp. Since its inception, the IVSA has given over $72,700 in music scholarships to Valley music students.

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