Since its inception, the ACO has continuously made important civic and cultural contributions to the city of Austin. Every year, the orchestra welcomes new members and those who wish to help maintain the organization's thriving participation in Austin community life.
As has been our tradition for more than two decades, the ACO presents a pair of pops concerts in June at Zilker Park. Families bring picnic dinners and enjoy an evening of music under the stars. Also featured is the popular annual raffle drawing for a chance to conduct the ACO's finale performance of John Phillip Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever. The audience doesn’t have all the fun though -- ACO members are known to bring silly props and themed costumes, especially those zany string players.
In addition to the delightful music, the friends of the orchestra offer snacks and beverages at the concession stand. In continuing the ACO's commitment to bring quality music at affordable prices to the greater Austin area, these concerts are performed FREE to the public at the Zilker Hillside Theater.
The ACO performs concerts for various central Texas organization and institutions. For over 20 years, the ACO has provided live music for the annual Great Waltz Ball on the University of Texas campus. Additionally, the Friends of the Georgetown Symphony Society (FOGGS) asked the ACO to play for approximately 2,000 Georgetown 4th and 5th graders during the Fall 2008 semester.
The ACO has a number of youth outreach programs. The ACO hosts the annual Pearl Amster Concerto Competition Festival, which spotlights exceptional young musicians from the central Texas area.
In 2010 and 2012, the orchestra and the Austin Symphonic Band are providing free admission for local primary and secondary students to their joint concert in the Dell Hall at the Long Center for the Performing Arts.