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Our Mission

Orchestra Northern Arizona is a non-profit, intergenerational community orchestra that brings together players of diverse backgrounds and levels of experience to share the joy of playing and performing classical music. 

It is our mission  to entertain our community with free, informal concerts for the whole family, inspiring musicians and audiences alike via the classical music experience.

We believe that music is an invaluable part of community life and strives to make orchestral music available to everyone, regardless of age or income, through free concerts in a family-friendly, informal venue. 

Our unique, quality programming entertains, educates and involves our audiences, with a particular emphasis on young families with children. We believe children should have access to the arts and know firsthand that exposure to live symphonic music can be life changing.  


We are committed to educational partnerships that bring musicians and students together; to collaborative efforts that support other arts organizations within our community; and to giving all musicians, amateur and professional alike, the opportunity to learn and perform orchestral music.

Our History

Over twenty years ago, Jean Mathew, an administrator at Coconino Community College (CCC), recognized the need for a regional community orchestra to serve the cultural and educational needs of musicians and audiences in northern Arizona. Mathew hired Clarence Shaw, a well-known northern Arizona musician, conductor and educator, and together they formed the Coconino Community College Orchestra.


In 2009, funding considerations forced the community college to cut the orchestra. Unwilling to disband, the musicians, along with their artistic director, decided to form Orchestra Northern Arizona. ONA received its non-profit status in July of 2010.


Today, ONA strives to carry on the tradition of performing quality classical music for its community and of giving musicians -- of all ages and abilities -- a place to play.

For a more a comprehensive history of ONA, see this account by former ONA member, Garnett Williams.


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