At Asheville Symphony’s youth orchestras, a spike in participation

Posted on: February 20, 2018

“In 2016, the Asheville Youth Symphony Orchestra staff dreamed up an experiential weekend for young string players called ‘Prelude.’ They thought they would be successful if 30 players turned out,” reports Carole Currie in Friday’s (2/16) Citizen Times (Asheville, N.C.). “Instead, 100 students showed up. ‘We knew at that moment that we had something of interest and need in the community to create a new vision and new direction,’ said Cara Jenkins, the youth orchestra’s general manager and woodwind coach. … The symphony revamped the youth orchestra program in 2016 with a new music director, Emily Schaad, and three music groups instead of two…. The number of players doubled, from about 50 to about 100 in the three orchestras. Midori came in March 2017 and spent four intensive days working with the youth orchestras…. For the final concert, 1,700 tickets were sold… This season [there are] almost 200 students and what has grown to four orchestras based on ability…. One person who would have been the most proud of the growth of the Asheville youth symphony groups was the late Lucia Ward, who worked tirelessly during the 1970s to establish a Strings in the Schools program…. The Asheville Symphony Youth Orchestra program now has a full range of instruments.”

Posted February 20, 2018

Pictured: Musicians in the Asheville Symphony Youth Orchestra during a recent rehearsal. Photo by Matt Burkhartt