October 27, 1989: A Magical Night, A New Beginning
McNichols Arena, an unusual setting for a symphony orchestra, was the place selected to present the debut of the new Colorado Symphony Orchestra. The date was October 27, 1989. Financial underpinning and marketing for the show was provided by Barry Fey and his concert promotion organization. A unique partnership for an orchestra. The media frenzy around legendary rock-and-roll promoter connects with sober classical musicians was bi-coastal.
The concert validated the belief the musicians were committed to providing the entire State of Colorado with the highest quality music it deserved. The spirit and commitment of the players evident then is alive and well today, 25 years later. The close to 13,000 in attendance validated their belief that their community wanted the music of the symphony as they celebrated the magic of the moment and the making of musical history.
That night, the musicians grasped the entrepreneurial challenge it would take to keep the doors open and the music playing – and has never let it go. It is probably safe to say that over the course of its history, this orchestra has embarked on some of the most unique musical endeavors of any orchestra in existence today. From a live recording at Red Rocks with the Moody Blues in 1992, to frequent performances with the best classical artists including Yo-Yo Ma and Olga Kern, to collaborations with emerging contemporary artists from Colorado and beyond, the orchestra has shown the enthusiasm and willingness to reach out to all audiences and truly be the people’s orchestra.
The McNichols Arena concert was the beginning and 25 years later, it’s still going strong.