The Owensboro Symphony Youth and String Orchestras to kick off 50th year

Tom Stites

As they begin their 50th year, leaders of the Owensboro Symphony Youth and String Orchestras are seeking new members after several seniors graduated last season.

Auditions for the Owensboro Symphony Youth Orchestra will take place Saturday and Aug. 24 at the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra Academy, 211 E. Second St. Rehearsals will run from noon to 4 p.m. on both days, and OSYO Conductor Tom Stites said if he is emailed beforehand, he can take students through the rehearsal process much quicker and more efficiently.

Students auditioning for the Youth Orchestra will perform two major scales and a chromatic scale of their choice, along with two short prepared pieces of their choice. They will also perform a brief sight-reading example.

Stites can be contacted at tom_stites@hotmail.com and should be emailed for an audition to be arranged.

He said the Youth Orchestra is meant to challenge students in a good way with more difficult works than their school programs provide.

"We want to encourage them," he said.

The String Orchestra has no audition requirements and membership is accepted through a teacher or private instructor recommendation, according to Greg Olson, the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra coordinator of education activities.

Olson said the String Orchestra is for younger musicians who have a minimum of two years experience in either school orchestra or through private lessons, "so they can come together and play some challenging music for their age level" with the conductor, Wade Wiggins.

"Each (orchestra group) is aimed at giving kids in that age group a little more of a challenge than what they might get in their school organization," Olson said. "They are aimed at kids that are really interested and really hard-working."

Secondarily, he said, the String Orchestra provides a great feeder program for the Youth Orchestra, which is slightly more advanced.

Both orchestras bring in kids from all over Daviess County, as well as southern Indiana and Henderson, which is why Stites said it's a good opportunity for students to gain more experience and culture.

"It's a good chance for them to make good friends and make good music," he said.

Tuition for the Youth Orchestra is $225 per year, and tuition for the String Orchestra is $150 per year. However, Stites said scholarships are available if a student would like to participate and does not have the financial means.

Rehearsals begin for both orchestras on Aug. 26.

In celebration of the OSYO's 50th anniversary, students will be performing in the Atlanta Symphony Hall in spring 2020. They will also at that time have the chance to hear the Atlanta Symphony perform Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana," which Stites said will be an "amazing experience."

For more information about the Youth Orchestra contact Stites at tom_stites@hotmail.com. For more information about the String Orchestra contact Olson at gregolson@theoso.com. More information regarding the rehearsal and performance dates, as well as audition requirements, is also available at theoso.com.

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315.

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