Southwest Symphony was founded in 1983 to fulfill a need created by the suspension of the Community Concert Series in Hobbs, NM. From its inception the Symphony has strived to bring a variety of music and dance programs to the citizens of Southeastern New Mexico. Each season Southwest Symphony presents seven concerts that include three classical, semi-classical, and pop music performed by our Southwest Symphony Orchestra. Additionally the Symphony acts as a presenter to bring four performers that includes a variety of music and dance genres.
Music is Life . . . LIVE! What a great theme for a season filled with exciting concerts. You will be amazed at the number of people who have participated in some way to make it happen. We are blessed with talented people in this area who are dedicated to bringing professional quality music to our community. I am honored to serve with a board of directors who work hard to provide and manage a diverse season for you. The driving force behind all of this is the staff who work to make sure each concert happens with ease.
Our shining star is Dr. Mark Jelinek who conducts the orchestra and develops great concerts for each season. This year he has added a fourth symphony concert that will feature a chorus of local singers that I will have the privilege of rehearsing. The added concert will be an afternoon of Christmas and holiday music that will bring in the season with style.
Our orchestra manager, Cindy Walker, has served the community and the Southwest Symphony for many years. She is a true professional. Having worked with this organization in the past, I can honestly say that she has helped to make the Southwest Symphony the respected and quality orchestra that it is today.
One of the areas of our organization that I am most proud of is the Youth Series outreach program. Christy Hepp, Youth Series Coordinator, has done a terrific job of making various experiences available to students throughout Lea County by scheduling residencies every year. For many years musicians from various concerts have been going to the schools and demonstrating what they do best. Because of the generosity of corporate sponsors, foundations, and individuals like YOU, we are able to bring buses of students to events throughout the year.
Social media has taken over many aspects of people’s lives, and people use their phones to stay connected. Southwest Symphony moved into this century with its Facebook page, and now we are launching an "app" so that you can be connected and reminded of the great season of concerts no matter where you are. The app will also have photos and videos of the various artists coming this season. Check it out and add us to your phone or tablet.
Attendance at concerts is a great way to support our local symphony, but there are other opportunities that you might consider. If you, or someone you know, is interested, speak to any board member or staff member and they will help you find the area that best suits your abilities. We occasionally have openings on our board of directors, and Friends of the Symphony can always use an extra pair of hands.
Thank you for choosing to spend this time with us.
Dr. Christopher Eubank, President
Southwest Symphony Board
Dr. Mark R. Jelinek, emeritus professor of music at Bloomsburg University, conducted the University Community Orchestra for 29 years and the University Chamber Orchestra for 22 years. This season also marks his 25th season as artistic director of the Southwest Symphony in Hobbs, New Mexico. Dr. Jelinek, a native of Hobbs, NM holds a Bachelor of Music Education and a Master of Arts degree from Eastern New Mexico University, where he studied cello and conducting under Arthur M. Welker. Dr. Jelinek received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Arizona State University, where he studied cello with Takayori Atsumi and conducting with Eugene Lombardi, Frank Spinosa, and Richard Strange.
Dr. Jelinek conducted the 2012 Pennsylvania All-State Orchestra, Northeast Region 4 Orchestra, District 8 Orchestra Festival (twice) and “String Fest,” several Districts 8 & 9 “String Fests,” the 2011 Montgomery County Honors String Orchestra, the Texas Region 6 Orchestra, the Southwest Symphony (Hobbs, NM), the 567th Air Force Band of Cape Cod (cello soloist also), “Weekend for Strings” (University of Northern Colorado), the cello orchestra of the Annual Arizona Cello Symposium (three times), and the American Cello Congress. He has published articles in Yamaha Instruments’ New Ways, The American String Teacher, and Band and Orchestra Product News.
Notable guest artists with Dr. Jelinek’s orchestra include the FORTE Tenors (America’s Got Talent), R. Carlos Nakai, Riders in the Sky, Leslie Parnas, Bob McGrath (“Bob” from Sesame Street), David Wetherill, Donald Portnoy, David Hickman, Edgar Meyer, Jubilant Sykes, Michael Martin Murphey, BJ Thomas.
Dr. Jelinek performed in cello sections of orchestras in Texas (Abilene, El Paso, and Midland-Odessa), New Mexico (Roswell and Las Cruces), Arizona (Scottsdale), California, and Pennsylvania (Williamsport). He played in orchestras with such notables as Emanuel Ax, Leonard Rose, Erick Friedman, Eugenia Zukerman, Jeffrey Siegel, Gary Burton, Ferrante and Teicher, Steve Allen, Doc Severinsen, Chet Atkins, Empire Brass, Floyd Cramer, Lou Rawls, Smokey Robinson, Andrae Crouch, and the Three Irish Tenors.
Dr. Jelinek is the son of the late Mr. & Mrs. Robert M. and Gladys L. Jelinek of Hobbs, NM.
Cindy Walker has been the Orchestra Manager for the Southwest Symphony since 1995. As programming coordinator, she is responsible for suggesting potential artists to perform each concert season. Cindy has a Bachelors of Music in Piano Performance and a Masters of Music in Music Theory & Composition from Texas Tech University. A recent retiree as manager of Griffin Funeral Home, she also has an Associate degree in Mortuary Science from Amarillo College. In addition, Ms. Walker is Chancel Choir accompanist and organist at First United Methodist Church.
Christy Hepp began working with the Southwest Symphony in 2014. A retired elementary school teacher with Hobbs Municipal Schools, she graduated with a Bachelors of Education from University of the Southwest and a Masters Degree in Teaching from Grand Canyon University. She’s excited to be coordinating the Youth Series Events with Lea County schools to enhance the existing music programs and to inspire students through the performing arts.