Merced County Times Newspaper
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Yosemite’s Symphony Orchestra Returns To Stage


The Mariposa Yosemite Symphony Orchestra (MYSO) — formerly the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra — returns to live public performances this April, following a three-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic.

The concerts (specific April weekend to be announced) will be offered as a 7 p.m. Saturday evening event in the Fiester Auditorium at Mariposa County High School, and a Sunday matinee at 2 pm in a location in, or near Yosemite National Park.

However, fiscal assistance is needed.

The newly-renamed orchestra sporting the acronym “MYSO” (or MY Symphony Orchestra) is now an independent non-profit organization partnered with the Collaborative Arts and Culture Foundation. The CACF, an exclusive fine arts fiscal partner, was founded in 2010 in Portland, and relocated to Mariposa a few years ago.

As a publicly-funded entity, MYSO requests support from those who realize the intrinsic and fiscal value to this region made by the 21-year-old orchestra. All donations to the MYSO are tax-deductible. Donors will be recognized in MYSO concert programs and on an in-development page on the website. Major donors will additionally be acknowledged in all public communications.

Yosemite Hospitality — Yosemite National Park’s primary concessionaire – has stepped up with a very generous $2,500 matching grant, doubling the value of new donations. Visit the all-new website to help meet Yosemite Hospitality’s challenge. Secure, easy online donations can be made, and directions for those preferring to send checks will be found.

MYSO draws audiences from throughout California and beyond and has even tipped the scales for home buyers considering Mariposa. The orchestra was founded by CEO/Music Director/Conductor Les Marsden in 2002 in the belief that no child (or adult) should be deprived of the amazing experience of live symphonic music simply by dint of geographic location. The MYSO has become an attraction for visitors, with many expressing surprise at finding such a high-quality ensemble in the rural Yosemite region. In turn, Mariposa is recognized as the smallest town in all America with its very own symphony orchestra. Meanwhile, the orchestra has achieved international renown via noted London-based author and arts commentator Norman Lebrecht.

The MYSO consists of musicians from Mariposa, Merced, Madera, Fresno and other counties – including sectional performers from Fort Collins, Colorado who rehearse via Facetime and then fly in to play in person. Past performances include Sonora, Oakhurst, Mammoth Lake, Merced and elsewhere in addition to its concerts in Mariposa and Yosemite. NPS and concession employees have always been active members of the orchestra; its name change was prompted in part by the fact that it now performs three concerts in Yosemite every season. All musicians including Marsden are unpaid volunteers.

Visit online at: for more information, to make a donation, or to add your email address to the always- private, low-volume “Friends of the MYSO” list, which provides concert information in advance of news being released to the media. Email contact: [email protected].