About Us

The Southwest Symphony

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.


It is my pleasure to welcome you to the 32nd Season of The Southwest Symphony - Classically Refined + Classics Redefined. In every season, SWS celebrates the best in classical music, the sophistication of each performance and the eclectic mix of artistry and elegance that is our genre. Join with us as our Artistic Director Dr. Mark Jelinek, reaches new artistic heights with the Southwest Symphony Orchestra along with the Cultural Arts Series performances!  It is our goal to bring to you events that provide new inspiration and a new definition of what music means to you.

On behalf of the members of the Symphony, I thank you for your continued support. We hope you enjoy experiencing these programs as much as we enjoy bringing them to you. Your patronage allows us to present new and exciting programs throughout the year. Our season will culminate in the Pops performance of SWSO with guest soloists from Eastern New Mexico University for an enjoyable afternoon of the best of Broadway, musical showstoppers and unforgettable movie classics that should not be missed.  I hope to see you there!

The goal at SWS is to bring the best in of the world of music to you, encourage the appreciation of the arts and wrap it up in a great night out among friends.  The Youth Series outreach programs are vital to the sustainability of the genre for future generations. A longstanding goal has been met this season as we will present 1 for 1 Youth Series performances in Lea County Schools that are linked to our roster. Many artists will travel from faraway places to invest in the lives of our students and the future of music!  We are very proud and honored to bring this program to the schools at no cost to them.
Of course, the performances and the Youth Series would not be possible without the generous financial support of many individuals, corporations, and foundations recognized throughout the program. Ticket prices only cover a small fraction of the operating costs of the Symphony and we appreciate the overwhelming gifts received each season from our benefactors and patrons. Thank you!

Finally, I would like to thank my fellow Board of Directors, the Friends of The Symphony, and SWS staff. Countless hours, time, and effort go into keeping the Southwest Symphony running to bring you the excellence you expect from us. Our organization would cease to exist without their tireless efforts.
Please enjoy the programs this season, and I hope to see you in the audience in the future.

Rae N. Cogar

Board of Directors, President

About the Artistic Director

Mark Jelinek Dr. Mark R. Jelinek, professor of music at Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg PA, observes his 29th year as conductor of the University-Community Orchestra and 22nd year as conductor of the University Chamber Orchestra.  This season also marks his 21st season as artistic director of the Southwest Symphony in Hobbs, New Mexico.
         Dr. Jelinek, a native of Hobbs, New Mexico, 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, District 8 Orchestra Festival (twice) and “String Fest,” several District 9 “String Fests,” the 2011 Montgomery County Honors String Orchestra, the Texas Region 6 Orchestra, the Southwest Symphony (Hobbs, NM) twice, 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, James Buswell, David Hickman, Edgar Meyer, Jubilant Sykes, Michael Martin Murphey, BJ Thomas, Deborah Henson-Conant,  Gail Williams and Arrival - The Music of Abba. 
          Dr. Jelinek performed in cello sections of orchestras in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, and Pennsylvania. He played in these 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’s professional affiliations include PMEA, NAFME, APSCUF, Phi Mu Alpha, and Kappa Kappa Psi


2015-2016 Southwest Symphony Staff

Genevieve CavanaughGenevieve S. Cavanaugh
Executive Director

Genevieve S. Cavanaugh has been working with the Southwest Symphony since fall of 2006. She is also a freelance photographer and writer for various businesses, government agencies and publications including New Mexico Magazine and Guestlife New Mexico. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism from NMSU in 1990 and is married with two children. She is an ex-officio member of the Symphony’s Board of Directors. She is an active member at Crosswinds Community Church, a past president of the Hobbs Literary Club, and recently was inducted into Hobbs Rotary Club.

Cindy WalkerCindy Walker
Orchestra Manager

Cindy Walker has been the Orchestra Manager since 1995. She has a B.M. in Piano Performance and a M.M. in Music Theory & Composition from Texas Tech University and an Associate degree in Mortuary Science from Amarillo College. Ms. Walker is the manager at Griffin Funeral Home and is organist at First United Methodist Church. She is an ex-officio member of the Symphony’s Board of Directors.



Meghan MooneyChristy Hepp
Youth Series Coordinator

Christy Hepp began working with the Southwest Symphony August 2014, after being a volunteer on the Governing Committee.  A retired teacher with the Hobbs Schools, she graduated with a Bachelor of Education Degree from University of the Southwest and a Masters Degree in Teaching from Grand Canyon University. She volunteers with various organizations around the community and is excited to be working with the schools again inspiring and educating students through music with SWS.