The Kankakee Valley Youth Symphony Orchestra started in 2000, before its first rehearsal, after leaders of the KVSOA visited area schools and explained the new group. In fact, the history of the KVYSO really goes back further than that, when a symphony backer donated money to the symphony to be set aside specifically to re-establish a youth orchestra that once existed here.
The KVYSO gives music students the opportunity to play classical music and it gives string musicians an opportunity to play with a full orchestra, two experiences that are often lacking in many area high schools. Some members of the youth orchestra are also members of the KVSOA, which is open to high school and junior high school students, as well as music teachers and other musicians. The youth orchestra is also providing scholarships so some students can attend music camps this summer.
In the long run, Gene Bahls, past president of the KVSOA, said he foresees that the youth symphony will help maintain and increase the quality of musicians and music teaching here. A youth symphony is a strong ‘draw’ for bringing more high quality music teachers to the area.
Secondly, and perhaps equally important, is that parents of the youth symphony, will have a greater opportunity to hear the KVSO and become season ticket holders.
Everett Flanigan, past president of the KVYSO board, pointed out that not only are orchestras members top musicians, they are also top students. For instance, more than half the students are taking ‘weighted classes’ – tougher courses that award more points toward graduation. And, not only did the students volunteer to join the KVYSO, but they paid tuition to receive university-level instruction.
He said that the orchestra exceeded his expectations during the last school year because he anticipated greater problems getting nearly 50 young people of varying abilities and backgrounds to work closely together. He found that the orchestra members are mature, dedicated and ‘love what they are doing’.
To visit the official site of the Kankakee Valley Youth Symphony Orchestra, please click here.