In 2015 Conductor Paula Nava Madrigal and Concertmaster Teo Benson founded the Ballard Civic Orchestra with support from a City of Seattle Neighborhood Matching Fund grant. Since then, BCO has performed over two dozen concerts throughout the city and King County, receiving numerous grants from the City, Latino Community Fund, 4Culture Foundation, and Seattle Peoples Fund. Special performances and celebrations of Latinx cultural traditions, such as Dia de Muertos and Las Posadas, have included music by Latinx composers, performed by Latinx guest artists. The Consulate of Mexico in Seattle has supported BCO programs and guest performers, especially its concerts at the Ballard Locks on Mexcio’s Independence Day in September. In 2017 KCTS produced a documentary about Paula Nava Madrigal entitled “Breaking Down Barriers” which has been viewed nationwide. The 2018-19 BCO Concert Series entitled “Music as a Bridge to Intercultural Understanding in Seattle” is scheduled to start in September 2018.
The mission of the Ballard Civic Orchestra is to enhance community life by using music as a bridge to intercultural understanding in Seattle with an emphasis on celebrating the Latinx cultural heritage. BCO offers classical music education, opportunities, and experiences, without charge, in diverse neighborhoods and venues citywide. BCO is a multi-generational orchestra of professional musicians, talented volunteers, and enthusiastic music lovers who want to share their passion for music in a way that benefits their communities’ working families, young professionals, youth, and retirees. BCO supports its affiliated World Youth Orchestra program for under-served Latinx youth which provides instrumental and orchestral instruction, without charge, by professional teaching artists at Casa Latina on Saturday afternoons.