Two of the Tri-Cities’ premier performing arts organizations are celebrating 70 years of entertaining and enriching the community.
And on June 19, the community is invited to celebrate with them.
A party for the Mid-Columbia Symphony and The Richland Players starts at 6 p.m. at the Reach center in Richland.
“It’s been 70 years for the symphony and 70 years for the Players. We thought it was something worthwhile to celebrate together,” said Boyce Burdick, president of the symphony board.
The symphony’s first concert was in December 1945. About 20 instrumentalists accompanied a performance of Handel’s Messiah.
The Richland Players’ first production was Dixie Jubilee.
During the anniversary party, memorabilia from the two groups will be on display.
A cornerstone and plaque celebrating 70 years of performing arts in the community also will be unveiled, a news release said.
Michael Wutzke, the Players’ general manager, said the event is a chance to honor the organizations’ accomplishments while also looking to the future.
Burdick agreed. The symphony’s 70th year has been a success, with — for example — the revival of the Mid-Columbia Youth Symphony, he said.
“It’s a big year for us. I hope it’s a sign of what will happen in the future,” Burdick said.
An ensemble from the youth symphony will perform during the party.
The symphony and the theater company were formed largely by people drawn to the area to work at the Hanford site.
Back then, there were few entertainment options, and the two groups became important to the community’s social and cultural scene.
They added to the quality of life, Wutzke said.
“We know why people came here — the job,” he said. “The symphony and the Players provided a reason to stay.”
The Reach museum is at 1943 Columbia Park Trail.