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Our History

Three musicians, Mrs. Helen Hartzell and Mr. and Mrs. George Panter, founded the Richey Community Orchestra (RCO) in 1957. The trio quickly grew and by 1963 the membership had grown to 24. The group was called “The Richey Instrumental Ensemble” and gave performances at some of the local churches. Throughout the 60’s the group continued to grow and in 1971 the name was changed to The Richey Community Orchestra.

From 1971 to 1987 the RCO gave over 160 concerts at civic clubs and churches from Tarpon Springs to Hudson, including fund-raising concerts for the Salvation Army and the Veteran’s Hospital in Tampa. They were featured at the Gulf View Square Mall and the Richey Suncoast Theater.


That all people, young and old, whatever their backgrounds and abilities, have access to a rich, musical experience, thereby giving all people an opportunity to use and share their talents with their community.

The RCO incorporated as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation in 1988 and began their own subscription series of concerts in 1989. Each season has been more successful than the one before, with an exciting variety of professional guest soloists and musicians. The RCO has developed a unique niche as a “Show Orchestra.”  Concerts are anything but ordinary! Each is a true production offering something special: guest artists, special video and Power Point presentations, sets and costumes.

Today the RCO has a membership of 50 professional and amateur musicians. The musicians donate their time and talent, sharing their love of music with their community.  RCO is a multi-generational group, ages ranging from teenagers to nonagenarians. The RCO maintains a rigorous performance season with six different concert events each year, unprecedented for a community orchestra. The group is comfortable with every genre of music from the traditional classical repertoire to opera, Broadway, pop and big band.

The RCO is the premier symphony orchestra in Pasco County and its members are proud to be an important part of the cultural foundation of our community.