Our History

In 1981, a small group of volunteers met to discuss the possibilities of having a symphony orchestra in Big Spring. They lacked experience but were loaded with optimism and enthusiasm. They incorporated as the Big Spring Symphony Association, Inc., elected officers, recruited other eager volunteers and decided to contract with the Midland-Odessa Symphony Orchestra to present three concerts each season in Big Spring.

The third season, the group decided to become totally independent. With the umbrella support of the Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Marianna Gabbi, conductor of the Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra, was hired as director and music librarian and we were on our way.

The Big Spring Symphony Guild was organized as a support arm to assist in raising funds for the orchestra through social events, etc. The Guild promotes music and music education through its various activities.

From the very outset, the Symphony Board aimed for quality orchestral programs, featuring internationally acclaimed guest

In 1983, we sponsored our first annual appearance by the Fort Worth Chamber Orchestra. Although, the Fort Worth Chamber Orchestra no longer performs, we are honored each year to sponsor John Read Giordano as guest conductor, Music Director Emeritus of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, where he served as Music Director and Conductor for 28 years. He is the founder of the Fort Worth Chamber Orchestra and Jury Chairman of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition since 1973.

Dr. Keith Graumann, a Big Spring Native, was Music Director and Conductor of the Big Spring Symphony Orchestra and Chorus from the Fall of 2002 until his death on March 10, 2023.  He will be remembered for his countless contributions to our community and the performing arts culture in West Texas.  While we search for just the right leader for our musicians, we have a tremendous pool of talented guest conductors available to fill in for every performance.

Along with renowned guest artists, the “Big Spring Natives Concerts” were begun in 1988. A “Pops” concert was added to each season in 1990. Also, since 1990 the orchestra has presented a patriotic concert
at the amphitheater Pops in the Park July 4th celebration.

The Board of Directors

Dear Friends of the Symphony,

Please join us as we celebrate our 42nd season of the Big Spring Symphony Orchestra! Last season was a very eventful season filled with incredible music and, sadly, the loss of our longtime Music Director Dr. Keith Gruamann. We are in the process of searching for a new Music Director, but in the meantime, we have several guest conductors lined up for this season. We are also looking forward to being back in the Big Spring Municipal Auditorium for our two concerts in 2024 this season!!!

The title of this season is, “The B’s Are A’Buzzin’.” Our season opens September 23, 2022, with “If It Ain’t Baroque,” a performance music entirely from the Baroque period. The concert will feature violin soloist Dr. Fagner Rocha on Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons.” Other selections will include a couple of the movements from Johann S. Bach’s “Brandenburg Concertos,” and George F. Handel orchestral works. Our guest conductor for this wonderful performance will be Robert Meinicke.

On December 16th our program will be “Big Spring Brings the Holidays Home.” The soloists will include Baritone Henrik Zetterstrom and Soprano Nadia Kiley. The orchestra will also be joined for several selections by a combined Big Spring Children’s Chorus. Other selections will include a performance of “The Night Before Christmas” narrated by Big Spring’s own Tumbleweed Smith. As usual the audience will be asked to join the orchestra in our annual sing-along! Our guest conductor will be Howard College professor Mark Watt.

On February 17, 2024, we be back in the Big Spring Municipal Auditorium for our annual Pops Concert! This season’s concert will feature “Big Spring’s Own Jody Nix.” Jody and his band have been thrilling audiences for many years, not only locally, but throughout the nation! We are thrilled to have Jody and his band join our orchestra as they present many wonderful Western Swing Band arrangements! Dr. Fagner Magrinelli Rocha, from Angelo State University will be the conductor for this concert. You will not want to miss this opportunity!!!

Our final concert will be held April 27th, and it will be a date you will certainly not want to miss! The title of the final performance is “Beethoven, Brahms and Borodin.” The Orchestra will perform what is probably the best-known Symphony of all time — Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Fifth Symphony,” featuring the most famous 4 note theme of all time! The orchestra will also perform some of Johanes Brahms “Hungarian Dances.” The orchestra will be joined by a very large Permian Basin Chorus as we perform Brahms “Schicksalslied” and Aleksandr Borodin’s “Polovetsian Dances” from Prince Igor. It will be a HUGE ending to the season. We are expecting Dr. Robert Hunt to appear as guest conductor.

We know this will be a season you will not want to miss!

Season tickets, as well as tickets for individual concerts are available on our website: www.bigspringsymphony.org

We thank you for your support and look forward to seeing you at each and every concert throughout the season!


Mark Watt, President

Big Spring Symphony Board of Directors

Jobeth Corwin
Joseph Dawes
Bill Griffin
Teresa Griffin
Rocky Harris
Linda Lindell
Santos Lujan
Suzanne Markwell
Gabe Martinez
Natalie Permenter
Angelica Scott-Phillips
Lawrence Thibeault
Matt Warren
Tammi Biel Warren
Mark Watt
Pamela Welch

BSSA Officers

Mark Watt, President 

Lawrence Thibeault, 1st Vice President 

Natalie Permenter, 2nd Vice President 

Pamela Welch, Treasurer 

Jobeth Corwin, Secretary


Big Spring
Symphony Guild

Our purpose is to support our symphony not only monetarily but to educate our community on the importance of music as a part of our culture.

Fundraising:  Program Ad Sales, Tour of Homes and our annual luncheon and fashion show.  We sell water and have a “Tips for Scholarships” Jar at every concert.  We accept both corporate and private donations.  

Education: The Nutcracker in a Nutshell, Instrument Petting Zoo, and The Phyllis Graumann Memorial Scholarship for young musicians. We also mentor students through a volunteer program where they can earn Community Service Hours.

Guild Members:

Suzanne Markwell – President
Jobeth Corwin – Vice President
Pauline Nelson – Treasurer
Natalie Permenter – Secretary/Publicity
Ellen Austin – Hospitality
Sherry Adams
Fran Emerson
Earl Permenter
Nathaniel Permenter
Mike Reyes
Nadine Reyes
Candice Smalling
Savannah Smalling
Pamela Welch

The Big Spring Symphony Orchestra exists because of the generosity of our community and people like you. If you would like to donate to the Symphony, click the button below to get started. 

If you’re interested in learning even more information, or would like to talk to someone from the Big Spring Symphony, give us a shout!