The Cascade Youth Symphony Orchestras (CYSO) has provided a rich musical experience for kids who are serious about classical music for more than 35 years.
“The best is being demanded from the kids. We believe in them and have high expectations; that’s how we build self-esteem and teamwork, and that goes back to their own schools and communities,” said Gerry Marsh, the organization’s music director.
When Marsh began directing CYSO, there were about 35 students involved. That number has grown to 300, with students in five groups that reflect varying skill levels rather than the age of the members.
Youth Symphony has members up to age 21, most of whom are in high school and college. The group plays full symphonies and has played with the Seattle Symphony. It tours in Europe every third year.
Junior Symphony is comprised of middle and high school students. It plays movements from symphonies and overtures.
Premiere Orchestra is also made up of middle and high school students. It plays high school arrangements of orchestral pieces and some original pieces.
Sinfonette is CYSO’s group for elementary and middle school students. It offers them a first-time experience in a full orchestra.
Preparatory Strings includes children ages 8 to 13 who play string instruments. Its goal is to prepare them to be in a full orchestra.
In addition to several conductors, CYSO has 24 instrumental coaches who work with the students. The organization holds summer camps and retreats as well as its regular rehearsals and performances.
CYSO will hold its spring concert and auction on Sunday, May 6, at 3 p.m. at the Aurora Church of the Nazarene, located at 1900 N. 175th St. in Shoreline. The event is a showpiece for the orchestras as well as a fundraiser.
For more information, visit www.cyso.us.