Join HYO

The Huntsville Youth Orchestra offers six levels of musical opportunities with strings classes ranging from beginner to very advanced, and ensembles for wind and percussion students with as little as a year of playing experience to very advanced full orchestra.

The ensembles of the HYO include:

  • Novice Strings, a group class for beginners, age 7-10, who wish to learn the violin, viola, cello, or bass
  • Intermezzo Orchestra, for string players with 1-2 years of experience
  • Concert Orchestra, for intermediate level string players with at least 2-3 years of experience
  • Philharmonia, for intermediate level string players and wind and percussion players with at least 1-2 years of playing
  • Sinfonia, for advanced string players, and wind and percussion players with at least 2-3 years of playing experience
  • Huntsville Youth Symphony, for advanced string, wind, and percussion players

Note: Students must audition for acceptance to Philharmonia, Sinfonia, and the Huntsville Youth Symphony.

HYO Registration 2018-2019 Form

General Audition Instructions 2018-2019


Specific Orchestra Instructions:


For additional information, contact Stacey Bagwell at (256) 714-0794 or hyoassistance@gmail.com.

Tennessee Valley Music Festival (TVMF) - Summer Camp

TVMF is a premier summer day-camp for music students. Professional musicians and educators from all over the country (and world!) bring a world of knowledge to help mentor our students. Many of these teachers play with some of the highest ranked orchestras in the world and/or are full time faculty at prestigious higher educational institutions.

TVMF General Information

Registration forms:

Track I: Discovery (Nimble Fingers)

Track II: Endeavor (Strings Only)

Track III: Atlantis

Track IV: Horizon Adult Orchestra (Strings Only)


For more information, contact Deborah Brown at hyo.exdir@gmail.com or (256) 880-0622.

Competitions and Awards

HYO hosts two competitions of its own:

  • Annual Marjorie Smith Concerto Competition
  • Gerhart Scholarship Competition

HYO also awards one educator in the Tennessee Valley with the “Music Educator of the Year” award.

In addition, HYO assists student members in the participation of others and helps them prepare for other opportunities such as the Alabama All-State Orchestra Festival.

For information about HYO competitions and awards, please contact Deborah Brown at hyo.exdir@gmail.com or (256) 880-0622.

Chamber Music

HYO’s Chamber Music Program presents a fantastic opportunity for our musicians to take their talent and love of music out into the community for all to enjoy.  In the program, HYO students form small ensembles that are able to play in smaller groups and therefore represent the Youth Orchestra at community events, Guild Functions, Corporate Functions, Christmas Galas and weddings.

The Chamber Music Program is a very important arm of the Huntsville Youth Orchestra, and an integral part of each student’s musical education.  All students from the Philharmonia, Sinfonia, and Huntsville Youth Symphony are invited and encouraged to participate in the program.

Chamber Music Participants:

  • Participate weekly in a chamber group rehearsal (quartet, quintet, etc) with peers.
  • Explore a body of repertoire specifically designed for chamber ensembles.
  • Participate in HYO sponsored performances as schedules permit.
  • Are encouraged to play at community events for service or for donations.
  • Become stronger musicians through the study and performance of chamber music.
  • Work with professional musicians as coaches in the small group setting

For information on participation in an HYO chamber ensemble, or to book a group for an event, please contact Deborah Brown at hyo.exdir@gmail.com or (256) 880-0622.


Hunter Thomas Legacy Chair

Hunter Thomas was a huge part of the musical community in Huntsville and also our HYO program throughout his life. As an extremely prolific and respected teacher, Hunter encouraged countless bassoon students to participate in HYO. He was an HYO chamber coach for many years, taught at the HYO summer music festival, and was an HYO board member. In fact, Hunter was even an HYO Alumnus and joined the orchestra sometime before 1970.

In honor of his memory and service to HYO, the Principal Bassoon chair in HYS has been given the title of “Hunter Thomas Legacy Chair.”

In addition, a scholarship has been set up in his name for this chair. As long as scholarship funds are available the HYO will provide the current member of this chair a scholarship towards attendance at the Tennessee Valley Music Festival.

In order to keep this scholarship available for young musicians for years to come, please consider donating to this scholarship fund.


The HYO is always looking for new community sponsors to help support these upcoming musicians. Please contact Deborah Brown at (256) 880-0622 or hyo.exdir@gmail.com to sponsor a concert, a musician chair, a scholarship, or the orchestra as a whole.