Member Handbook


Congratulations on your acceptance into the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestras family of musicians! We hope that this season will be a wonderful musical experience as we anticipate that everyone will learn a lot, work hard, and have an exceptional musical experience.

We ask both parents and students to take a few minutes to read the handbook over thoroughly and keep it as a reference guide. We do not want ignorance of the policies and requirements in this handbook to jeopardize your participation. Newsletters and other communications are distributed at rehearsals. Make it a point after each rehearsal to ask your child if information was handed out in rehearsal. Also, you can check our website ( for the weekly announcements.

If you have a change in address or phone number, please contact the CSYO manager immediately at

If you have questions, please email me at or call 704-651-2957. I will get back to you as soon as possible.

With best wishes for a wonderful season,
Christine Rydel

History of the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestras

The Piedmont Youth Symphony was formed by Frank West of Davidson College where it continued to meet until 1961.

This Youth Orchestra had its formal beginning when David Serrins, then Principal Oboe of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, obtained a combined sponsorship from the Mecklenburg County School System and the Queen City Optimist Club. Both David Serrins and Tom Lewis (Charlotte Symphony Orchestra members) conducted this orchestra.

Richard Cormier was hired as the first full-time conductor of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra (CSO) and Robert Maddox became the associate conductor. The Piedmont Youth Symphony was renamed The Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra with Dr. Maddox as its conductor.

Jacques Brourman became conductor of the CSO and it was during his tenure that significant growth occurred for the Youth Orchestra. Maestro Brourman was a tireless innovator who took a great interest in training young musicians.

The structure of the Youth Orchestra program, a project conceived by Maestro Brourman, became a reality. The Charlotte Symphony Women's Association (now The Symphony Guild of Charlotte, Inc.) undertook the sponsorship of the Youth Orchestra by providing funds for three vital aspects: scholarships for private study; coaching by Charlotte Symphony members; and a week-long clinic-retreat prior to the beginning of the season. The Symphony Guild began its annual ASID Designer House project to support the Youth Symphony. This support continues today.
At this time the name of the orchestra was changed to the Youth Symphony of the Carolinas. From 1972-78 the YSOC expanded to include not only seasonal concerts, but also performances in Festival in the Park, Young People's Concerts in the schools, the Nutcracker series, Young Artist Concerts, two world premiere performances, and a series of television programs in 1975 and 1977 with WTVI.
The Youth Symphony sponsored concerts in Raleigh as part of the Bicentennial celebration and at Wingate College as part of the Fine Arts Series. In addition, the Youth Symphony appeared at many civic events and collaborated with the Charlotte Opera and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to present Benjamin Britten's opera, "Noyes Fludde". The six years from 1972 to 1978 truly established the Youth Symphony as a unique experience for young Charlotte musicians.

The Charlotte Symphony Women's Association received from the American Symphony Orchestra League its most prestigious "Gold Baton Award" for the imaginative and educational Youth Symphony program.

Kirk Trevor, the new assistant conductor of the CSO, became the conductor of the Youth Symphony.

David Mills, Principal Tuba with the Charlotte Symphony and the conductor of the Charlotte Wind Ensemble became the interim conductor of the Youth Symphony.

Dr. Jordan Tang became the new assistant conductor of the CSO and of the Youth Symphony.

The Symphony Guild created the position of Manager for the Youth Symphony of the Carolinas and hired Valerie Simosko-Lampo, Principal Flute for the CSO.

The name of the orchestra was changed to the Charlotte Youth Symphony and its own full-time conductor was hired and added to the CSO conducting staff. Edward Allison, Director of String Education for the Shelby City Schools became that first conductor.

A second orchestra, the Charlotte Junior Youth Symphony, for students of the ages 10-14, was created. This orchestra was to be a training orchestra for the YSOC and membership was by audition. Ernest Pereira, a violinist with the CSO became the first conductor, and Sarah Briggs, also a violinist with the CSO, became the first manager.

Dr. Pereira became the conductor for both of the youth orchestras.

The Charlotte Youth Symphony opened the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina.

Alisa Smallwood succeeds Valerie Lampo as manager of the youth orchestras. The Youth Orchestras Committee was formed as the governance committee of the Youth Orchestras. This committee is composed of members of the CSO staff, The Symphony Guild, CSO musicians, parents of both youth orchestras and youth orchestra members.

The orchestras were again renamed and became The Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra and The Charlotte Symphony Junior Youth Orchestra. The Symphony Guild won another ASOL award for its unique Youth Symphony Summer Camp program. Mary Ashley Barret was appointed Manager.

Purchased four new timpani.

Christine Rydel appointed manager. This same year, the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra performed at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC.

The Symphony Guild of Charlotte and the Parents organization purchased a bass clarinet. Twenty CSYO members were featured in the CBS movie "Shake, Rattle and Roll". Miriam Kramer was a guest conductor at the Fall Concert. Her "Senior Wish" was granted through the Great Aunt Stella Center and the CSYO.

The Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestras Parents Association (CSYOPA) was formed and bylaws adopted. The CSYOPA purchased a LoreƩ English horn. The CSYO performed at Summer Pops at SouthPark. The Symphony Guild of Charlotte endowed the Conductors Chair.

The Parents Association sponsored the CSYO website, purchased percussion equipment and funded the CSYO's trip to Carnegie Hall. The CSYO performed at Carnegie Hall on June 17, 2002. Their performance was part of MidAmerica Productions Ensemble Spotlight Series.

The CSYO Parents Association purchased a bass trombone. The CSYO introduces its first annual Ensemble Spotlight Concert which features the four instrument families performing larger chamber music works.

The CSYO Parents Association purchased percussion equipment for the orchestras.

CSYO tour to Washington, D.C.  Performs at the Atlas Performing Arts Center Lang Theater.

CSYO five-day tour to New York City.  THe CSYO performed at Carnegie Hall on June 17, 2017.

About Your Conductor

A native of South Africa, Ernest Pereira received his early training in Pretoria from Walter Mony and Alan Solomon and holds Teacher's and Performer's Licentiates from the University of South Africa. He studied in this country with David Cerone, graduating as valedictorian with a Bachelor of Music degree in 1981 and a Master of Music degree in 1982 from the Cleveland Institute of Music. He received his Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Texas in 1987, studying with Vincent Frittelli. Since 1985, Dr. Pereira has been a member of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. He has appeared frequently as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, South Africa and Namibia, and has soloed with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and the Charlotte Repertory Orchestra. Dr. Pereira has also conducted the University of Texas String Program Project Orchestra. As the conductor of the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestras since 1988, he has presided over the vigorous growth and improvement of the ensembles and has led the CSYO in performances at Festival in the Park, the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC, Summer Pops at SouthPark and Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Ernest Pereira - Violin I
Kathy Jarrell - Violin II
Ning Zhao - Viola
Alan Black - Cello
Jeff Ferdon - Bass
Lori Tiberio - Woodwinds
Rich Harris - Brass
Leonardo Soto - Percussion

Carlos Tarazona - Violin I
Sakira Harley - Violin II
Viara Stefanova - Viola
Elizabeth Burns - Cello
Kurt Riecken- Bass
Amy Whitehead - Woodwinds
Scott Hartman- Brass
Josh Walker - Percussion

Mission Statement

The role of the Youth Orchestra is to educate young musicians in a professional symphony atmosphere, to provide training by professional musicians of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, to give opportunity to perform a wide variety of symphonic music, and to provide a variety of music education formats. It is our purpose to help prepare the young musician for participation in the world of symphonic music, either as a professional musician or as a concertgoer.

Youth Orchestra TASK FORCE Committee 

The governance of the Youth Orchestra is provided by a committee created for this purpose. The Youth Orchestras Committee is responsible for overseeing the general operation of both the CSYO and CSJYO, recommending and approving an annual budget and establishing, as required, policies, procedures and fees which assure the continued success of both orchestras. This committee reports to the CSO Board of Directors and The Symphony Guild Board of Directors. The membership of the said committee shall be limited to:
  • Chairman - initially selected by the Nominating Committee of The Symphony Guild for a term of two years and thereafter the chairman will be selected by this committee
  • CSO Executive Director
  • CSYO/JYO Conductor
  • Manager of the Youth Orchestras
  • 1 CSO musician selected by the CSO musicians
  • President of the CSYO Parents' Association
  • 2 At-Large members, one determined by the Guild, one by the CSO
  • President Elect, Symphony Guild of Charlotte
  • Vice-President of Enrichment, Symphony Guild of Charlotte
  • Symphony Guild CSYO/JYO Chairpersons


Membership in the CSYO and JYO will be by audition. The JYO is for students grades 4-9 (possibly some 10th grade students) and the CSYO is composed primarily of students in grades 8-12, although extraordinarily talented younger students may be considered. High school graduates up to age 20 may also audition. These graduates however, will not be eligible for principal chairs or for private-study scholarships. Auditions are usually held in April or May of each year. A student may audition during the season with the permission of the conductor and only if there is an opening in the appropriate instrument section. Auditions will be administered by the CSYO manager, conductor and coaches. The auditions will include:
  1. Prepared selections in contrasting styles and/or tempi,
  2. Major and chromatic scales,
  3. Sight reading and
  4. Appropriate transposition, clef reading, shifting.
Applicants will be judged on tone quality, intonation, technique, rhythmic accuracy, general musical effect and a willingness to improve.
Students must audition for positions each year and adhere to the guidelines for membership which include private study and attendance at the CSYO summer camp, rehearsals and ALL CONCERTS.
All students are required to pay the annual tuition fee.  If a student's tuition fee has not been paid, the student will not be allowed to audition for the next season until those fees have been paid.   

Dates for the CSYO Summer Camp will be included on the audition applications. Camp is REQUIRED so please check these dates BEFORE you audition. Applicants will receive audition results by mail within two weeks after the last day of auditions.

Annual Fee

There is an annual membership fee required of all members. The fee is $475 for CSYO and $425 for the JYO. Membership fees are non-refundable. Included in this fee is the cost of a CSYO/JYO T-shirt (required casual concert dress).

Private Study

Private study is required for CSYO/JYO membership for several reasons. Private study is the indication of a serious musician who is aspiring to improve himself through excellence in the musical discipline. Few CSYO members have reached their present level of performance without benefit of private study, and all can become even more advanced and mature if guided by a good private teacher. Students owe themselves, and the music world of the future, the opportunity to discover their full potential through the careful guidance of a private teacher. The manager and conductor can assist students in making contact with private teachers.The Symphony Guild provides merit and financial scholarships for private study.

Scholarships/Financial Assistance

The Symphony Guild does not wish that any qualified musician be turned away because of financial need. Financial assistance is available through the Guild for membership fees. The Guild also provides both need-based and merit scholarships for CSYO members whose audition performance qualifies them for recommendation.

Recipients are responsible for faithful attendance and improvement, both at lessons and rehearsals. Excessive absences or other actions contrary to membership and/or scholarship guidelines may constitute sufficient grounds for withdrawal of the scholarship at any time during the season. The scholarship recipient will receive one warning concerning his unacceptable status. If corrective action is not apparent within the prescribed time, the scholarship will be withdrawn.

Occasionally, a scholarship musician may be asked to perform within an ensemble for a specific Guild function. These students are strongly encouraged to do so.

Orchestra Structure

The Youth Orchestra is structured basically the same as the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. It has over 85 members, and all instrument groups are represented. In the string sections, principal players are named. In some cases, co-principals are named. In the wind and brass sections principals are usually named for each instrument. Often a principal timpanist and percussionist are named.

Being named principal player of a section is a privilege and a responsibility. A principal player is generally the most advanced in a section. The example set by the principal player can greatly influence the performance and attitude of a section. A principal player should encourage his/her section to give the very best possible performance at all times. A principal player is expected to be well prepared for all rehearsals, to be ready to play any solos and to have excellent attendance.

Those orchestra members in second chairs in the string sections may be named assistants. A second chair player is expected to have the same qualifications as a principal, but would only play solos or lead the section in the principal player's absence.

A third chair player in the string sections needs to be very well prepared and have excellent attendance. He/she would move up to the first stand if the principal or second chair player were absent.
For a particular composition or performance, the conductor may request a temporary seating change, which may be implemented through prior consultation with the principal player of the section.
If a vacancy occurs, it will be the purpose of the CSYO to improve the orchestra's level of performance, and it will be the policy of the CSYO to promote its own orchestra members consistent with this objective. A JYO musician may be considered to fill this vacancy.

All vacancies will be filled by audition unless the conductor decides to promote, without an audition, a musician already in the orchestra.

The conductor has the right to re-audition any musician, giving 30 days notice and advising the musician of the requested repertoire.

The conductor or the coach has the right to re-seat any musician if he feels it to be necessary.


All CSYO/JYO members are expected to be at ALL rehearsals and concerts. From time to time there are reasons for absences. You are allowed 5 absences for the entire year. It is the responsibility of each member to follow the attendance guidelines. Attendance at dress rehearsals and concerts is MANDATORY and are not to be considered part of the 5 absences. Note: If student has an unavoidable conflict with a concert date, the student could be asked to pay for a substitue musician for that concert.

If a member goes beyond 5 absences, their seating may be changed; part assignments adjusted or the member may be dismissed from the group. It is each member's responsibility to be at rehearsals and to notify the manager if they have any schedule conflicts. Please take note of the following guidelines:
  • If there is a schedule conflict, the manager must be notified by the parent/guardian in writing, at least three weeks prior to the conflict.
  • After three lates, each late thereafter will be counted as an absence.
  • Regular attendance as well as musical ability is taken into consideration for seating auditions.
  • After a fourth absence there will be a phone call home warning that the student is approaching the fifth absence.
  • At the fifth absence, a meeting will be set up with the conductor, manager, parents and student to discuss whether the student will be, reseated, put on probation or dismissed from the group. The final decision is at the sole discretion of the conductor.
Fill out an absence form on the website or call the CSYO office at 704-651-2957 to report any known absence, or expected tardiness 24 hours before the rehearsal. Leave your name, orchestra, and reason for the absence on the voice mail. There is absolutely no excuse for not notifying the CSYO manager of an absence before a rehearsal.

*Please fill out an absence form three weeks prior to a known absence.

If a child is not picked-up by the published end time of a rehearsal:

1) Regardless of the cause for the late pick-up, a late fee of $30.00 will be assessed starting at 10 minutes after the published end time of rehearsal. An additional $30.00 fee will be assessed for every additional 10 minute increment after that.  Example:  4:10-4:20pm= $30, 4:20-4:30=$60, etc.
2) Parents will be asked to sign a form confirming the date and time of the late pickup and the fee amount that has been assessed.

Late fees are expected to be paid at the time of pick-up. These fees must be paid in cash at the time of arrival, or before the child's next regularly scheduled rehearsal. Fees must be paid before the child can attend the next scheduled rehearsal. Any rehearsals missed may be considered unexcused absences.
More than two (2) late pick-ups could result in a suspension or termination of your child's membership in the CSYO/JYO program.

Please keep the CSYO manager informed of any changes in address or phone numbers so we can keep our records current and you will not be in danger of missing an important mailing. Also, let us know if you change private teachers or schools. We invite all private and school instructors to our concerts and list the schools our students attend in the programs.
Failure of the manager to contact a musician due to out-of-date or incorrect information shall not constitute a valid reason for a member missing a rehearsal or performance, whether regularly scheduled or not.

Inclement Weather Policy

If there is a question about a rehearsal/concert being held because of inclement weather, please call the CSYO office at 704-651-2957. If a rehearsal/concert is cancelled, we will have an announcement on the CSYO extension voice mail, the phone tree will be activated and an announcement will appear on WBTV.

Summer Camp

The CSYO season begins with a five-day summer camp. This camp is held during the first week of August and attendance is MANDATORY. The CSYO will perform its first public concert on the last day of camp. This camp is a project of the Symphony Guild and is sponsored by The Symphony Guild of Charlotte.


The CSYO rehearses on Mondays from 5:30 - 8:00 pm at St Luke's Lutheran Church located at 3200 Park Road. The JYO also rehearses at St. Luke's Lutheran Church on Saturdays from 2:00 -4:00 pm. There is adequate parking in the church parking lot.

Youth Orchestra members should plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before the rehearsal is scheduled to begin. Each player must be in her/his chair and ready to tune 5 minutes before rehearsal. The orchestra will tune when the concertmaster stands and signals the first oboist to sound an "A". THERE IS TO BE NO TALKING DURING TUNING!

Each musician is expected to listen and watch the conductor carefully. All students must have a SHARPENED pencil with a good eraser at all rehearsals. All markings should be made clearly.

Each musician MUST bring a music stand to all rehearsals and concerts.
Rehearsals end promptly at 8:00pm. DO NOT BE LATE. All families are expected to make the necessary arrangements for their children to be picked up on time. The staff does not provide childcare before or after rehearsals. Please be respectful of their time.

There are three to four coaching sessions per semester with members of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. In these sessions special attention is given to technical matters for each instrument group. Please have your music prepared and bring a music stand and pencil to all sectional rehearsals.

The CSYO and JYO rehearsals are held at St. Luke's Lutheran Church and the concerts are held at Dana Auditorium at Queens College and the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center (except where noted on the schedule). Please always remember that we are guests! All youth orchestra members are expected to behave accordingly. Please show respect for private property and adhere to all policies established.

NO food or beverages are allowed in the building. Members are to stay in the "youth orchestra" designated areas of the facility.

After sectional rehearsals, all members should put all chairs and tables back to their original positions in the room. Leave it better than you found it!


On concert days there is generally a dress rehearsal before the concert. After the rehearsal, players MUST be in concert dress at least 15 minutes before concert time.

Once the orchestra is seated on stage, the conductor will direct the entire orchestra to stand. The conductor will also signal when the orchestra should stand to acknowledge applause. DO NOT pack instruments or leave the stage until after the applause has ended and the Conductor has left the stage.
If a member does not play a particular piece, he/she should not be on stage unless directed to remain by the conductor. There will be time allowed for players to get on and off the stage between pieces. A member should be ready backstage with his/her instrument and music before the end of the piece he/she does not play.

Following the concert, orchestra members are to turn in all music and collect all belongings.
Please note: For most concerts, tickets will be sold at the door on the day of the concert. These ticket sales help cover the rental costs of the performance hall. Youth Festival tickets must be purchased prior to concert day. Information about Youth Festival tickets will be mailed to all students.

Below is the concert dress required for your orchestra.

CSYO gentlemen: Black tux or black suit with black bow tie and cummerbund, white tux shirt, black socks, and black shoes.

CSYO ladies: Black dress that is knee to floor length or knee to floor length black skirt or black dress pants with an elbow length or long sleeve black blouse, black panty hose, black dress shoes (closed toe with a modest heel).
All CSYO members: Wear the CSYO T-shirt with black pants (no jeans) and black shoes for the camp, Festival in the Park and SouthPark concerts.

JYO gentlemen: Black dress pants, white button down shirt, conservative tie, black socks, black shoes.

JYO ladies: Knee to floor length black skirts or black dress pants with an elbow length or long sleeve white blouse, black panty hose, black dress shoes (closed toe with a modest heel).


A practice folder and a performance folder with music will be provided to each member. Only the practice folder can be taken home for practice purposes. The performance folder will be distributed to each member at the beginning of rehearsals and performances and will be collected by the CSYO manager or designated volunteers at the end. Members are NOT ALLOWED to take the performance folders home.

Members are responsible for marking their music with all instructions from the conductor.MARK ONLY WITH PENCIL. NO PENS OR COLORED MARKERS ARE PERMITTED. Music should NEVER be marked in ink. The student will be charged a fine for lost or damaged music. The fines will be set at the replacement costs of the music and any late charges assessed to CSYO for rental music. Members are not allowed to audition for the next season unless all fines are paid.

If a student loses their practice folder/music the CSYO charges $1.00 per page for lost music. Due to the excessive amount of time and effort it takes to prepare every single part, it is important that students have a sense of responsibility concerning their music.

It is the responsibility of each student to inform the manager if the student has not received the music by the second week of rehearsal. Members are expected to practice the youth orchestra music between rehearsals.

If a member repeatedly attends rehearsals unprepared, the conductor may choose to either replace the member or to change his/her seating position.

School Music Programs

The Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra supports and appreciates the work of school music teachers and their programs. The Youth Orchestra would not exist without their diligent work. Both school programs and the Youth Orchestra share the goal of training young musicians.
If you are involved in your school music program at the time of Youth Orchestra auditions, you are expected to maintain your participation. If there are scheduling or other orchestra related problems these MUST be discussed with the school music teacher and the manager as soon as they are discovered.

Your school music program is an excellent place to learn and gain practical experience.
The school music program will provide you with:
  • Access to District and Regional groups.
  • Access to All-State groups
  • Access to State Solo and Ensemble Festivals
  • Access to All-County groups
  • Access to other opportunities and information: school music programs are often the medium for announcements and contacting music students
School programs may also offer:
  • Opportunities to travel, compete and meet new people
  • Opportunities to play principal or solo parts
  • Opportunities to play musicals
Other benefits of the school music program:
  • Playing daily is invaluable to a musician
  • If a music major, the experience is vital to your future
  • Additional recognition and leadership training
  • Additional musical training and literature
  • Possible school scholarships
  • Recommendations from music directors for scholarships, college entrance and special events.
You can make a tremendous contribution to these programs:

  • By serving as a role model for others: sharing your talents
  • By repaying the start in music that you may have received from your school

Summary of Expectations

Once a student is accepted into the Youth Orchestra, he/she will be expected to:

  • Maintain membership in your school music program.
  • Attend CSYO Summer Camp or JYO Mini Camp.
  • Attend all rehearsals and concerts following the attendance guidelines).
  • Take private lessons on your instrument.
  • Arrive on time for all rehearsals and concerts, observing proper concert dress.
  • Take care of Youth Orchestra music, mark only in pencil and return all music in good condition.
  • Practice Youth Orchestra music between rehearsals.
  • Learn and work to improve as much as possible during the season.
  • Participate in all CSYO/JYO scheduled events.
  • Participate in all fundraising activities.
  • Pay CSYO/JYO annual tuition fee.

Disciplinary Action/Dismissal

Disciplinary action may be taken for any of the following:

  • Any behavior which disrupts rehearsal or performance
  • Excessive absences
  • Persistent tardiness
  • Willful violation of stated orchestra rules or policies
  • Uncooperative attitude
A musician may be dismissed from CSYO for any of the following:

Excessively uncooperative attitude or failure by the musician to conduct himself/herself in an orderly manner at any function of the CSYO.
  • Excessive absences (more than 5 absences). See attendance policy.
  • Inadequate performance.
  • Any behavior which harms another member of CSYO.
Prior to dismissal, the player shall be advised on at least two occasions of dissatisfaction with either his or her personal conduct or musical performance. The musician has the right to request a review committee. In the case of causing physical harm to another member of the orchestra, a warning will not be issued before dismissal.

Financial Information

The Youth Orchestras operates at a cost of approximately $80,000. Income for the budget comes from several sources:

  1. Ticket sales,
  2. A contribution from the Symphony Guild of Charlotte, Inc.,
  3. Annual fees from members,
  4. Fund-raising projects of the CSYOPA and
  5. General operating support provided by the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra.
Production expenses include rehearsal hall rent, performance hall rent, music purchase, audition expenses, recording engineer and stagehand compensation. Summer camp costs ($40,000) and the salaries of the Conductor, Manager and Coaches comprise the bulk of the CSYO budget.
As the Youth Orchestra is a part of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra Society, all funding plans must be in accordance with the Society's guidelines. Checks for tuition or contributions should be made out to the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra (CSYO).

Family Pass

This is an exclusive offer for CSYO/JYO members and their families from the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. Calling the Monday before each concert reserves the best available seats.
To purchase your Family Pass, call the Symphony Charge at 704-972-2000 any weekday.

Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestras Parents' Association

The Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestras Parents' Association (CSYOPA) is comprised of the parents of all members of the Charlotte Symphony Youth and Junior Youth Orchestras. It strives to support the students and the organization in every possible way.

The CSYOPA has at least four general meetings each year. Meeting date and times are announced at the beginning of each season. All parents are encouraged to attend these meetings to keep up to date with activities and important concert/trip information.

The officers of the CSYOPA assist in planning the trips and in coordinating a number of activities that rely on the volunteer support of all parents of CSYO/JYO students. The executive board communicates regularly with the parents through meetings, newsletters, telephone calls and through messages sent with the students at their weekly rehearsals.

The Symphony Guild of Charlotte

The Symphony Guild of Charlotte is proud of its continuing support of the talented members of the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra and the Junior Your Orchestra.

The Symphony Guild of Charlotte Inc. has raised over $4 million for the Youth Orchestras and other educational programs and for its pledge to the CSO since 1950. The major expenditure for The Symphony Guild of Charlotte is the Summer Music Camp for CSYO musicians. This camp is held in August prior to the new concert season and provides, at no cost to the musicians, an intense musical experience that culminates in a concert. The Symphony Guild of Charlotte also conducts the Young Artists Competition, the Youth Festival, Master Classes, Saturday morning Lollipops Concerts accompanied by the Musical Petting Zoo, and the preschool musical petting zoo. The Symphony Guild of Charlotte also provides the rent for rehearsals and concerts, and part of salaries for the conductor, coaches and manager. Merit and private study scholarships are awarded annually to talented musicians. This includes private music lessons, as well as participation in such prestigious music camps as Interlochen and Tanglewood.

In 1950, The Symphony Guild of Charlotte was formed as the 'Women's Division Charlotte Symphony Society" with approximately 200 members. Its commitment to your enrichment began that same year, when the firs 'Children's Concerts in the Armory" were performed after school. In 1954 these concerts were moved to eleven elementary schools. During 1965-67 this group was reorganized. A Board of Directors was established, by-laws were written and its new name became The Charlotte Symphony Women's Association. These volunteers remained deeply involved with the creation and administration of youth projects while continuing to support the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra in many other areas. 1972 launched a new project for the Women's Association. The project became the cornerstone of the organization and remains so today. In that year, a program conceived by Jacques Brourman, the conductor of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, became a reality: the structure of the Youth Orchestra program. The Women's Association agreed to sponsor the Your Symphony of the Carolinas by administering and providing funds for three vital aspects: scholarships for private study; coaching by Charlotte Symphony Orchestra musicians and a week long clinic retreat prior to the opening of the season. Later that year, the first Symphony Guild ASID Designer House opened: the fundraising project that would support the Youth Orchestra program. The annual performance of the Nutcracker also became a Youth Symphony of Charlotte support project.

In 2000, the Guild contributed $100,000 to endow the youth orchestra conductor chair.
You are cordially invited to join The Symphony Guild of Charlotte to assist in our ongoing contribution through music to the quality of life in Charlotte and the surrounding communities. Membership is open to both students and adults. You may contact us through our web site or by calling our office at 704- 525-0522

The Symphony Guild of Charlotte works closely with the CSO and the CSYOPA to provide the support necessary for the smooth running of all aspects of the CSYO and the JYO.
The Symphony Guild of Charlotte exists to provide support for today's symphony and tomorrow's musicians.
Celebrating 56 years of musical excellence this season!