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Have you attended a concert by the award winning Sheboygan Area Youth Symphony? We invite you to attend one of the three season concerts and experience for yourself the depth and quality of the young musicians from our area. The Sheboygan Symphony and the Sheboygan Area School District proudly sponsor the Youth Symphony and its many endeavors. The Sheboygan Area Youth Symphony is a group of 93 talented Middle and High School students representing 12 different communities and 16 different schools from around Sheboygan County. This artistic group prepares three outstanding performances each season. In addition, they are involved in various music festivals throughout the state and nation.
The Sheboygan Symphony Board of Directors has recently added a second orchestra, the Sinfonia, to the (Sheboygan Area Youth Symphony) SAYS program. The Sheboygan Symphony is expanding our youth programs in a greater effort to encourage young musicians as they grow and develop in their musical knowledge and performance skills.
The new Sinfonia is a string orchestra, made up primarily of Middle School and advanced Elementary School string players, as well as home schooled students. Young string players from around Sheboygan County will learn the basics of orchestral performing as they have the opportunity to develop their playing skills. Last season, we were excited to announce that our Youth Symphony was expanding to include TWO ORCHESTRAS!! The new Sinfonia began its first season with 18 string players. This fall the new Sinfonia will offer a high quality orchestral experience to almost 40 young musicians. They will not only experience growth in numbers, but in musicianship as well. Sinfonia will be performing its second season under the capable baton of Ms. Susan Stauber, former director of the Kenosha Youth Symphony.
Stauber founded the Lakeshore Youth Philharmonic to meet the growing need to provide quality orchestra training to young musicians in southeastern Wisconsin. She serves as string instructor at Lake Country Academy in Sheboygan and teaches private oboe instruction in her home studio. Stauber holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Lawrence University, Appleton, WI, and a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting, Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.
The Sheboygan Area Youth Symphony, co-founded in 1982 by Debbie Williamson and Louis Schmidt, will undergo changes in the fall. This group will now become known as the SAYS Concert Orchestra and welcome back former director and co-founder, Debbie Williamson to the podium. Williamson has previously directed the group for 15 years. She has been the Concertmaster of the Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra for 32 years and continues to perform chamber orchestra music throughout the area. Williamson has taught high school orchestra and maintained a private violin studio as well.
Williamson earned her Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Illinois State University, studying with Dr. Won Mo Kim. She also holds Bachelor and Master’s Degrees in Architecture, graduating with honors in 1999 from the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee
In February 2004, the Youth Symphony started a new tradition by performing in the new Stefanie Weill Center for the Performing Arts in Sheboygan. The orchestra worked hard to prepare musically for this special concert, and received rave reviews from the audience.
SHEBOYGAN AREA YOUTH SYMPHONY EARNS SILVER MEDAL AT HERITAGE MUSIC FESTIVAL IN BOSTON
During the spring of 2003 the Sheboygan Area Youth Symphony were involved in the Heritage Music Festival in Boston, Massachusetts. This festival is a national competition where many fine Youth Symphonies from all over the country participated. The festival offers an opportunity for the students to grow both in their own performance as they compete, and in their musical knowledge gained through listening to other fine groups.
At the Heritage Music Festival, the Youth Symphony performed three selections for judges, took part in a mini-clinic, and listened to another orchestra perform. The same evening, youth symphony musicians and chaperones enjoyed an Awards Banquet, sponsored by the Festival, and were presented a 2nd place award in the Youth Orchestra classification.
Debbie Williamson was extremely happy with the performance of the group and stated, "It was a real joy for me to watch the musical growth and commitment of our students throughout the year, and even more rewarding to have them perform their best . . . with incredible energy, focus and precision. Sheboygan would have been proud!" Debbie went on, "Festival officials even complimented the group, following our performance, saying, 'we thoroughly enjoyed listening to your group . . . and what a wonderful bunch of kids too.' "
In addition to performing, the 65 musicians and chaperones enjoyed some sight-seeing and learned about the numerous historical sights of Boston. The group took a guided tour of the city, including parts of the Freedom Trail, explored the USS Constitution battleship, visited the Museum of Science, saw an Omni theater presentation of STOMP, and relaxed on a historical cruise of Boston Harbor. The whole trip was a wonderful experience for all.
For additional information about the Youth Symphony, contact the Sheboygan Symphony Office at 920-452-1985.