Opportunities


Join HYO

About the Orchestras

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 plus level string players with at least 2-3 years of playing experience (returning wind and percussion players will be moved to Sinfonia this year due to Covid19). Auditions required for new members.
Sinfonia – For advanced string players, and wind and percussion players with at least 2-3 years of playing experience. Auditions will be required for new members.
Huntsville Youth Symphony – For advanced string, wind, and percussion players. Auditions will be required for new members.

Guidelines for HYO 2021-2022

(subject to revision as guidelines are updated)

Your child’s safety and the safety of HYO staff is important to all of us. The staff of the HYO has come up with the following guidelines based on CDC requirements and requirements of the venues we are using.

If your child has fever, shortness of breath, cough, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, or any symptoms of illness, please keep him or her at home. If a family or household member has tested positive or is showing symptoms for COVID 19 or are waiting on a test result, please keep your student home until everyone is clear.

String students are required to wear masks before entering the rehearsal venue, and must wear them the entire time they are at HYO rehearsals. Wind musicians and instruments should also be masked as possible. Masks for wind musicians and instruments are available online.

Students must bring their own music stands. Chairs will be distanced. Students should keep spacing between themselves and other students while unpacking instruments. Small cases should be kept beside the student’s chair. Chaperones and family members attending rehearsals must also wear masks. Family members must wait in designated areas. A sign up list for chaperones will be sent out ahead of time. We will have a limited number of designated chaperones.

No food or drinks will be allowed in rehearsals.

Students must bring the following to rehearsal, as there will be no sharing or borrowing:

  • Instrument
  • Music and any other music literature needed and pencil
  • Music Stand. Students will need to have their own stands rather than sharing since they will be distanced.)
  • Facial mask
  • Masks for wind instruments as possible
  • All necessary items needed for instruments -Rosin, shoulder rest, end pin stop/strap, as applicable

If a student in attendance at a rehearsal tests positive for COVID 19, parents must notify Deborah Brown immediately so that we may let other parents know. Her email is hyo.exdir@gmail.com

A Waiver MUST be signed when registering.

Registration for the 2021-2022 Season

Online registration is now available!  Register Now and then Pay Here!

Audition Information for 2021-2022

(For Philharmonia, Sinfonia, or Huntsville Youth Symphony)

 General Information:  Students are required to pay a $15 audition fee ($10 for additional children within a family).  Audition fee will be refunded ONLY to students not admitted to the Huntsville Youth Orchestra program. Auditions will take place August 11-14. The location will be announced at a later date. Please call Stacey Bagwell, 256-714-0794 beginning Monday, July 19 for an audition appointment.

Students auditioning for Huntsville Youth Symphony

  1. Scale Requirements
    Students must know all twelve major scales. Students will be asked to play one of the scales, selected by the judges, during the audition. String players shall perform all scales three octaves. Woodwind and brass players shall play two octaves where possible. Students shall NOT perform arpeggios during the audition. Scales must be memorized. Scales shall be performed at a tempo of at least 90 bpm per scale degree. Scales are worth 10 points.
  2. Orchestral Excerpt(s) (prepared piece)
    Students MUST play the excerpt(s) provided. If the prepared piece is an orchestral excerpt or excerpt from a solo work, students are encouraged to listen to several recordings (available free online) so that it may be played with the correct style. If a student has never been accepted to the Huntsville Youth Symphony, s/he must perform both the Sinfonia and Huntsville Youth Symphony excerpts. The prepared excerpts are worth 30 points total.
            HYS_Audition_Excerpts
  3. Sight-Reading
    Students will be asked to sight-read during the audition. Students will have 20 seconds to look over the music before playing it. Sight-reading is worth 15 points.

Students auditioning for Sinfonia

  1. Scale Requirements
    The judges will choose one scale from the following major scales:  C, G, D, A, E,  F, Bb, Eb, Ab.  String players shall perform all scales two octaves.  Woodwind and brass players shall play each scale one octave.  Students shall NOT play arpeggios during the audition. Scales must be memorized.  Scales shall be performed at a tempo of (at least) 90 bpm per scale degree.  Scales are worth 10 points.
  2. Orchestral Excerpt(s) (prepared piece)
    Students must play the excerpt(s) provided. If the prepared piece is an orchestral excerpt or excerpt from a solo work, students are encouraged to listen to several recordings (available free online) so that it may be played with the correct style. If a student is a string player and has not been a member of Sinfonia, s/he must play both the Sinfonia and Philharmonia excerpts.  The prepared excerpt(s) are worth 30 points total. 
            Sinfonia_Audition_Excerpts
  3. Sight-Reading
    Students will be asked to sight-read during the audition.  Students will have 20 seconds to look over the music before playing it.  Sight-reading is worth 15 points.

Students auditioning for Philharmonia:

  1. Scale Requirements
    The judges will choose one scale from the following major scales, unless it differs from the audition excerpt sheet:  C, G, D, A, F, Bb, Eb.  Scales should be played two octaves at a tempo of (at least) 90 bpm per scale degree. Students shall NOT play arpeggios during the audition. Scales must be memorized. Scales are worth 10 points.
  2. Orchestral Excerpt(s)
    Students will perform the excerpts(s) provided.  The prepared excerpts(s) are worth 30 points total.
            Philharmonia_Audition_Excerpts
  3. Sight-Reading
    Students will be asked to sight-read during the audition.  Students will have 20 seconds to look over the music before playing it.  Sight-reading is worth 15 points.

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


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.


Competitions

Competitions

HYO hosts two competitions of its own:

  • Annual Marjorie Smith Concerto Competition
  • Gerhart Scholarship Competition

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.


Awards

Harold J. Wilson Music Educator of the Year Award

HYO is pleased to announce the return of Harold J. Wilson Music Educator of the Year award for 2021. The winner of this award is chosen based on community nominations to recognize music educators who contribute significantly to the development of young musicians.

  • Eligible Nominees: Music Educators within Madison County. Educators may be private instructors, elementary, secondary, or collegiate instructors, public or private.
  • Nominations may be made by students, parents, colleagues, organizations, business and community members, or a combination.
  • Nominations should be submitted on the Nomination Form.
  • At least two additional letters of support from persons other than the nominator shall be included with the Nomination Form.
  • A music educator may only win this award once.
  • It is recommended that at least one of the supporting letters or the nomination be from a student or parent.
  • Forms must be postmarked no later than April 6, 2021.
  • For additional information, please email Deborah Brown, hyo.exdir@gmail.com
  • The award will be presented on May 16, at the Huntsville Youth Orchestra Spring Concert.
  • Please mail completed application packet to:
    Huntsville Youth Orchestra
    ATTN: Selection Committee
    P.O. Box 2532
    Huntsville, AL, 35804

Nominating Form for 2021

Past Winners

  • 1993 – Vivienne Atkins – Lee High School Choral Director
  • 1994 – Debbie Hutson – Sparkman High School Band Director
  • 1997 – Barbara Poularikas – Private Violin and Viola Instructor
  • 1999 – Ginger Beazley – Voice and Vocal performance teacher and director of Ars Nova School of the Arts
  • 2001 – Leona Cotruvo – Private violin teacher and conductor with the HYO
  • 2003 – Hunter Thomas – Bassoon Instructor
  • 2005 – Don Adams – Huntsville Middle School Band
  • 2006 – Frances Schwemmer – Piano Instructor
  • 2007 – James Kendrick – Columbia High School Choral Director
  • 2008 – Jeff Dortch – Private Violin Instructor
  • 2009 – Gene Swanner – Hampton Cove Middle School Band Director
  • 2010 – Lea Hoppe – Conductor for Huntsville Community Chorus Children’s Choir
  • 2011 – Randall Fields – Bob Jones High School Choir Director
  • 2012 – Diana A. Petit – Piano Instructor
  • 2013 – William David Spencer – Huntsville High School Band Director
  • 2014 – Joseph Lee – Huntsville Youth Orchestra Music Director
  • 2020 – Billy Bargetzi – UAH, Huntsville Symphony, private trombone instructor
  • 2021 – Mathew Carey – UAH, 

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


Scholarships

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.


Sponsorships

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.