SunWest Blog

About the West Valley Symphony and its History

Since 1968, the West Valley has been home to a renowned group of musicians that compose the West Valley Symphony. Known as different names throughout the years, such as Sun City Symphony and Sun Cities Symphony, the West Valley Symphony has entertained patrons in Arizona since their first show on December 15h, 1968. Playing for a capacity crowd of 1,000 patrons at what was then called Town Hall South Auditorium, the symphony was originally conducted by its founder, Jennings Butterfield.

The musicians at the time were residents of Sun City, which was only eight years old, and professional musicians from Phoenix, Flagstaff and Luke Air Force Base. Since then, the orchestra has changed its name and venue several times. The performances moved from its original location to the Sundial Auditorium, where concerts were held throughout the 70s and then to the Sundome in 1980. Under the direction of Maestro James Yestadt, in 2002 the West Valley Symphony received WESTMARC’s “Best of the West” award. Once the Sundome was closed in 2005, the Symphony held its 2005 season at the Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Sun City West.

In February 2006, after several years of declining attendance and contributions, the symphony cancelled the two remaining concerts of the 2005-06 Season. After an arduous time, the Symphony found hope when, in December 2007, Mr. J. E. Donald Hastie of Sun City bequeathed a generous donation to the Symphony. At that point, the trustees began reinventing the orchestra.
In November of 2008, the Symphony took the stage again with programs conducted by Maestros Warren Cohen and Cal Stewart Kellogg. In April 2009, Maestro Kellogg was named Music Director/Conductor, and has since become an audience favorite and continues to conduct to this day.
If you’ve only recently moved to the West Valley or have never experienced the dazzling experience of a Symphony performance, make the West Valley Symphony a part of your bucket list. For ticketing and concert schedules, go to