In 1990, founder and former principal flutist, Mary Beth Norris, dreamed of a symphony for Steamboat Springs. With the support of a few close friends, who became the very first board, they raised funds and the first concert of “The Steamboat Strings Orchestra” took place on February 21, 1991, with thirteen volunteer players from the community. They welcomed talented young players into their midst, always with an eye toward building community and educating the next generation of musicians. Those principles of community, education, and multigenerational performing are still pillars of today’s SSO.
When Ernest Richardson joined as Music Director in 2005, he broadened the reach of the organization – both in the collaboration of professional players from the Front Range and in expanding awareness of the orchestra within the community. The orchestra is now a fully professional orchestra made up of area, regional and sometimes intercontinental professionals.