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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Children & Youth, Music, Symphony Orchestras, Youth Development


The mission of the Sacramento Youth Symphony is to educate and advance the musical skills of the youth of our communities in ways that engage, challenge, and inspire them to reach their highest potential.

Results: Over 1400 youth in Sacramento have discovered the rich and valuable opportunities available through engagement with music just this year. Over our 56 year history, thousands of Sacramento's young musicians have been members of our orchestras and ensembles.

Programs: The Sacramento Youth Symphony & Academy of Music programs build bridges between music and academic subjects, integrate orchestra ethics with appropriate social behavior and help students build self-discipline, self-expression and self-belief with skills that will help them throughout their lives. Involvement in our programs fosters in our young musicians a sense of teamwork, confidence, showmanship, dedication, commitment and giving of themselves. As students become a citizen of the orchestra they transform into citizens of our community. Weekly Programs: The Sacramento Youth Symphony offers talented and passionate young musicians an opportunity to participate in three full orchestras, two string orchestras, and a symphonic band. (Premier, Academic, Classic, Symphonic, Vivace, Prelude) Entrance into all of our large ensembles is gained by “blind” auditions; musicians audition behind a screen and are placed solely on their skill and playing ability. All musicians must re-audition every season. Afterschool Programs for Underserved: Overture is a free after school program. No prior music experience is required and instruments are provided at no charge. The only requirements for the students are: a commitment to attend regularly; a practice schedule; and care for the instrument. Parents are required to sign a contract that they will ensure their children practice at home during the week. Outreach: Each orchestra and ensemble performs concerts as part of our traditional concert series and outreach concerts in the community, particularly to schools lacking music programs. The SYS, through Any Given Child Sacramento, reaches over 1000 elementary students in the region through outreach concerts. Concerto Competitions: Each season the SYS holds an Annual Concerto Competition, with the winners being offered an opportunity to shine as soloists at the Premier and Academic Concerto Concerts. The competition is open to all orchestra members. Chamber Music Workshops: Summer Chamber Music Workshop is an intensive program introducing young musicians to chamber music. Taught by professional musicians, participants receive individualized coaching and conclude their programs with concerts.

Community Stories

1 Story from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2 Maxwell C.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was a member of the Sacramento Youth Symphony's Premier Orchestra for four years. Over the course of my tenure with the Orchestra, my life was enriched in so many ways that enumerating them all would be impossible. I cultivated my musical ability by performing a professional repertoire with magnificent young musicians; I broadened my cultural outlook by touring in Austria and the Czech Republic; I helped my community by providing live orchestral music—an engaging cultural medium which can, and should, be preserved—to the public; and I built friendships with incredible people along the way. Michael Neumann, the Artistic Director of SYS and the conductor of the Premier Orchestra, has poured his soul into this organization, and it shows: his musical artistry, and his parallel love of humankind, filled every rehearsal and every performance. SYS is doing incredible work, enriching the lives of young people in the Sacramento region and beyond, and I hope they continue to do so far into the future.—Maxwell J. Collard