The First Coast Youth Orchestras, an ensemble program for musicians ages 7 through 21, has been founded as a division of the First Coast Community Music School to help young musicians grow and gain experience through various ensemble programs.
The FCYO will have an active Board of Directors as well as a Parent Booster Association. The organization will enroll up to 300 students for five levels of ensembles.
The youngest string players will be placed in Debut Strings, Intermezzo Strings and Aria Strings. More experienced players will join the two full orchestra programs: the Youth Philharmonic for advancing middle and high school instrumentalists and the Youth Symphony for advanced high school, college and pre-conservatory students. A chamber music program will be offered for musicians in its top two orchestras.
FCYO’s season will run from September through May with regular rehearsals on weekends. The season will consist of four concerts, with the inaugural concert being presented Nov. 18 at the University of North Florida's Lazzara Concert Hall.
Maestro Scott Gregg, Executive Director of the First Coast Community Music School, will head the program and conduct both the Youth Symphony and the Youth Philharmonic. He will also serve as the artistic director of the FCYO.
“The enthusiasm this project has generated in student musicians all over the First Coast, along with the 60+ years of combined experience our conducting staff has had nurturing a culture of excellence in young musicians and the potential for innovative programming between the School and the Youth Orchestras, is going to be a powerful combination," Gregg said. "The most successful youth orchestra programs across the country are independent of any parent symphony, and I'm looking forward to testing how far we can grow."
Serving alongside Gregg will be Maestra Judith Steinmeyer, who will lead Aria Strings.
“I was honored when asked to join the FCYO team," Steinmeyer said. "I could not pass up the opportunity to work with advancing string players in this newly formed organization."