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Shenandoah Valley Youth Symphony

About the Symphony

The Shenandoah Valley Youth Symphony, conducted by Dr. Yi-Ping Chen, provides a unique, high-level orchestral experience for advanced wind, brass, strings, and percussion students of the greater central Shenandoah Valley area.

The Youth Symphony meets on Sunday afternoons from 2:00-4:30 pm on the Eastern Mennonite University campus in Harrisonburg, VA. Rehearsals are held for 8 weeks in the fall and 8 weeks in the winter/spring, with a free public concert at the end of each session.

Junior Strings


Audition Information

Admission to the Youth Symphony is by audition only. Auditions are held each September and January. Talented and serious students are encouraged to apply to perform with this high-level ensemble.

Fall 2020 SVYS audition dates are Sept. 13 (2-4 pm) & Sept. 14 (7-9 pm).

To schedule your audition, fill out our audition request form, call 540-432-4277, or email Auditions will be held in EMU's Lehman Auditorium.

Audition Requirements

  • Play one prepared piece (3-4 minutes) without accompaniment (SRO excerpts are fine)
  • 2 or 3-octave scale, your choice
  • Sight reading

Concerto Auditions

Rising seniors enrolled in the Youth Symphony may choose to participate in our Concerto Audition, held each spring in May, for a chance to perform a solo with the Youth Symphony during their senior year. 

Junior Strings


Scholarship Opportunities

Fellowship Program:
In 2014, the Youth Symphony Fellowship Program was established through the generous donations of Bibb and Dolly Frazier. The Fellowship Program supports students who play at a high level and are committed to the Symphony through scholarship money for private lessons and tuition for the Symphony. Priority is given to instrumentalists needed to maintain a solid orchestra. Please consider joining Debbie Warnaar and Brian Bauer in making a donation to ensure that the Fellowship Program continues. 

There are two types of Fellowships: partial (covers Youth Symphony tuition) and full (covers Youth Symphony tuition and assistance with private lesson expenses). In order to be considered for a Fellowship award, you must:

  • Submit a recommendation letter from your private teacher (email is fine) prior to your audition to our director, Kimberly Souther,
  • Commit to the entire season
  • Audition by September 2020 (scale of your choice, prepared piece of your choice, sight-reading)
  • Be an ambassador for the Youth Symphony at your school (promoting auditions and concerts)
  • Assist the conductor or program director with duties that are decided after the auditions.

Contact Kimberly Souther if you would like to make a donation to help this important program continue in the future.

Junior Strings


SVYS 2020-21 Schedule 

(Members will receive a detailed rehearsal schedule)

  • Auditions for Fall 2020 will be held September 13 and 14
  • Rehearsals begin October 4
  • Community Concerts on November 14 and 15, TBA
  • Fall Concert on November 22, 4:00 pm in Lehman Auditorium
  • Auditions for Winter 2021 will be held in January
  • Rehearsals begin January 24
  • Winter Concert on March 21, 4:00 pm in Lehman Auditorium
  • Concerto Soloist Auditions in Lehman Auditorium, TBA

The purpose of the Youth Symphony is:

  • to experience a broad range of symphonic literature — repertoire performed in 2018 includes Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake Suite, Sarasate's Carmen Fantasy , Sibelius's Finlandia, Offenbach's Overture to Orpheus in the Underworld, and Stephen Schwartz's Highlights from Wicked. 
  • to broaden training in an orchestral setting
  • to experience a high level of music-making
  • to express individual creativity through concerto performances and performances of student compositions
  • to provide an orchestral forum not otherwise available for most wind and percussion players

Junior Strings

Junior Strings

This ensemble is for intermediate students who read music at the Suzuki Book 2-4 level (violin) or Suzuki Book 2-3 level (viola, cello, bass). It is conducted by Sharon Miller. Basic orchestral skills are taught through appropriate musical selections.

Membership is by teacher recommendation. The group meets on Thursday evenings for 9 weeks each semester and performs publicly at least once during the year. Sign up for 2020-21 Junior Strings!

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