The mission of the Enid Symphony Association is to maintain a symphonic ensemble which will enrich the quality of life in the Greater Enid area and serve as a cultural ambassador to the region and state. This is to be accomplished through the presentation of predominately classical symphonic music to an ever increasing audience representative of the diverse population of our constituent community.
The Enid Symphony Association was established in 1971 to foster the Enid Symphony Orchestra, which was founded in 1906. In 1983 Douglas Newell became the first full-time Music and Executive Director of the Enid Symphony Association. Each season the ESO presents a ten performance Subscription Concert series, free outdoor performances in David Allen Memorial Baseball Park and Meadowlake Park (July 4th), special educational programs and run-out concerts.
Annually, the ESO reaches audiences in excess of 10,000 from throughout Oklahoma. Although the primary service area of the ESO is Garfield County, the ESO subscriber base encompasses a radius of 128 miles including residents of 11 Oklahoma counties as a primary service area and 6 additional counties as a secondary service area.
Funding for the ESO is derived from subscription and single ticket sales, ESO program booklet advertisements, corporate and private contributions, facility rental revenue, grant monies from public and private foundations and funding from the Oklahoma Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts and ESA Board projects. The ESA is governed by a fifteen member Board of Directors.
Performances by the Enid Symphony Orchestra are held in the Enid Symphony Center which is located on the fourth and fifth floors of Enid's historic second Masonic Temple. The concept for the Enid Symphony Center was envisioned by ESO Music Director Douglas Newell in 1997. Subsequently he led an effort to raise the $3.2 million necessary to create the facility. In addition to the Symphony Hall, the ESC also houses the Jane Champlin Art Gallery, the Ballroom Theatre and the Eleanor Hoehn Hornbaker Banquet Hall.
The Enid Symphony Center is fully accessible and open to the public at large. In December of 2005, the Enid Symphony Association and Advance Food Company of Enid became co-owners of the building which houses the Enid Symphony Center and offices of Advance Food Company. This co-ownership is the result of one of America’s most creative mutually beneficial alliances between a private business and a non-profit.
The Enid Symphony Orchestra is publicized throughout Northwest Oklahoma via direct mail, commercial and public radio, local and regional newspapers, La Connecion, a Spanish language weekly, the Vance Air Scoop at Vance Air Force Base and commercial and public access television. The ESO and Enid Symphony Center have been featured in such regional and national publications as Oklahoma Today, Southern Living and Symphony magazines.
In June of 2007 the Enid Symphony Orchestra participated in a commercial recording entitled Oklahoma! Where the West Remains featuring cowboy artist RW Hampton. The album has received numerous awards including a 2007 Wrangler Award from the National Western Heritage Museum as the Album of the Year.
Maestro Newell’s work with the ESO has been recognized by such awards as a Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts from the State of Oklahoma, an
Oklahoma Association of Symphony Orchestras Award of Excellence and two Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce Civic Improvement Awards. Additionally, the Enid Symphony Center Project has garnered awards from Main Street Oklahoma and the Oklahoma State Department of Historical Preservation and a 2009 ONE Award from the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits. In June of 2010, the ESC project received national attention when Maestro Newell was invited to speak about the facility at the League of American Orchestras’ National Conference in Atlanta.