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In the years following World War II, a number of attempts were made to establish a symphony orchestra in Kankakee County. For largely financial reasons, these efforts failed. However, the seed had been planted.

In late 1965, a small group of local musicians began meeting together to play chamber music for their own pleasure. By March 1967, the group had grown to 25 players and The Society for the Friends of Music was formed.

Although the group's original purpose was to experience the sheer joy of playing together, the organizers had the wisdom and foresight to recognize that such a musical aggregation could provide a valuable asset to the community in the form of musical education and public performance. The original charter of 1967 reflects these goals and aspirations.

How and where was the Orchestra first organized?

  • The Society for the Friends of Music chartered in Kankakee in late 1967.
  • February 10,1968 the debut of The Society for the Friends of Music Symphony Orchestra.
  • 1974, the name was changed to Kankakee Symphony Orchestra.
  • 1986, the name was changed to Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra.

Who has conducted for the Orchestra since its organization?

  • Reinhold Schuller 1967
  • Bernard Fischer 1967-68
  • Harlow Hopkins 1968-70
  • Maria Tunicka 1970-74
  • Ovid Young 1974-84
  • Samuel Magad 1984-85
  • Peter Lipari 1985-87
  • Allan Dennis 1987-present