About Us

Mission Statement

For more than 80 years the Symphony Association has been presenting four ADMISSION-FREE concerts for the benefit and enjoyment of the entire community. Today 1,600 or more music lovers attend each concert.

  • To enrich the cultural life of the communities it serves..
  • To expand the musical knowledge of youth and adults.
  • To provide an outlet for the talents of the musicians through the performance of symphony music.

A Bit of History...

In 1932, during the midst of the Great Depression, a young violin instructor at Whittier College, Ruth Haroldson, put together a group of musicians and founded the Whittier College Community Orchestra. In 1937, then known as the “Whittier Symphony,” they performed for the City of Whittier’s Golden Jubilee.
The Whittier Symphony continued to expand its influence and share music and music education programs far beyond Whittier’s city limits. In 1964, the Symphony’s Board of Directors, in order to recognize the expansion of its programs and the financial support of the cities of Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs and the County Of Los Angeles, changed the name to the Rio Hondo Symphony.

What We Do

The Whittier Regional Symphony performs four admission free classical music concerts each season at the Vic Lopez Auditorium at Whittier High School, Whittier Ave. in Whittier California. The concerts start at 3 PM, have one intermission, and are completed before 5 PM. Two concerts are held in the fall, and two in the spring.

The Association's Goals:

  • To enrich the cultural life of the communities it serves.
  • To expand the musical knowledge of youth and adults.
  • For more than 20 years the Symphony has been sponsoring a Music Education Program which reaches 8,000 children each year. Three professional musicians present 45-minute performance demonstrations to 3rd, 4th and 5th graders throughout the Greater Whittier area.
  • Each year the Symphony presents at least one special Children’s Concert for 4th, 5th and 6th graders. The concerts are created especially for the young audience. Most of the youngsters enjoy the experience of hearing a live symphony orchestra for the first time. They also learn a bit about proper concert etiquette.
  • The Young Artists Competition was established to give young musicians an opportunity to compete against one another and, in doing so, to be motivated towards musical excellence. The winners have the priceless opportunity of appearing as soloists with the orchestra.
  • To provide an outlet for the talents of the musicians through the performance of symphony music. When the Conductor and Music Director selects the music for each concert, he must think not only of the audience but also the musicians. The compositions should be challenging to them. The performances give the musicians a chance to display their talents to a live audience; the conductor has an opportunity to inspire the musicians to perform to their full potential. 


Once again, the Symphony hopes to achieve those goals. Membership in the Symphony Association and an appreciative audience help to make that possible.

With supporters of the Whittier Regional Symphony, from left – Senator Bob Archuleta, Yoshio Nakamura and WRS President Fred Zermeno.

A Message from the President:

It is a privilege and an honor to be named as president of the 86th season for the Whittier Regional Symphony by my colleagues. This is an organization that I have been following for many years. The four free concerts, their music enrichment programs that include the Young Artist Competitions, the free children’s concerts, Kids Korner and the Young Artist Competition are amazing and an amazing way to give back to the community.
We will continue to bring you the best free classical music the region has to offer with our brilliant conductor, Kimo Furumoto, and our excellent professional orchestra. We will make sure our Music Enrichment Programs thrive throughout the local schools as we continue to reach over 10,000 children a year.

Fred Zermeno, President
Whittier Regional Symphony