Channel Islands Chamber Orchestra (CHICO) began as the brainchild of Les Vielbig, Henning Ottsen and KuanFen Liu.
In 2003, Members of the 1st United Methodist Church of Ventura invited CHICO to use their sanctuary as the primary venue for orchestra concerts. CHICO’s founding board members adopted the 1996 bylaws of SanBuenaVentura Symphony that operated a few years after Ventura County Symphony dissolved. CHICO was established as a non-profit charitable 501(c)(3) organization, #77-0417189, dba Channel Islands Chamber Orchestra.
In 2011, CHICO partnered with Ventura Unified School District to provide Peter and the Wolf concerts for 4th graders in Ventura.
In 2013, CHICO expanded the season to include five concerts and concerts in two locations: Saturday performances in Camarillo and Sunday performances in Ventura.
In 2016, the Peter and the Wolf concert program was expanded to include students in Camarillo as well as Ventura. The school program currently includes more than 2,000 students.
CHICO’s Current Board Members are: Henning Ottsen, Bruce Walker, Miriam Arichea, Steven Perren, Laura Mihalka, Nancy Sieh, Les Vielbig, David Singer, Barbara Thorne, Geri Freeland and Siegfried Storz.