Rockford Symphony Youth Orchestra Named Illinois 'Youth Orchestra Of The Year'

Mar 27, 2018

The Rockford Symphony Orchestra announced that the Rockford Symphony Youth Orchestra has been named “Youth Orchestra of the Year” for 2018 by the Illinois Council of Orchestras.

The judging was based on programming, community involvement/outreach, opportunities for youth, growth of audience, fiscal responsibility, and community support.

According to a news release, the Rockford Symphony Youth Orchestra (RSYO) is comprised of students from Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin who have a love of classical music and a desire to improve their skills while performing as an ensemble. The orchestra is led under the direction of Linc Smelser. The orchestra has provided training for young people in the region for over four decades.

Smelser says they really work together as a team, and that shows in performance.

“The energy that they give in a concert, especially after working as hard as they have in rehearsals, is very, very clear to those people listening,” Smelser said.

Smelser says the honor reflects well on the whole organization, but especially on the students.

“I’ve really tried to challenge them with some difficult repertoire and try to get them to reach further than maybe they thought they could -- and they're doing it,” Smelser said.

The orchestra is made up of 60 young musicians who auditioned from 15 cities and represent 23 different schools. The orchestra gives four concerts per year, with the smaller ensembles performing additionally throughout the community.

Funding and administration is provided by the Rockford Symphony Orchestra and is tuition based.  Additional funding is provided for the RSYO Sterling String Quartet by the Sterling Family endowment, and a new merit-based endowed individual scholarship opportunity is provided by the Isadore Olson Scholarship Fund.

The next performance of the RSYO will be April 22, 2018 at the Hononegah Performing Arts Center at 3 p.m.