In 2006, when I first heard about the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra, something told me this would be a wonderful thing for my children, if I had any. At the time, I did not have any, but I had recently been married.
Fast forward a decade and our children auditioned successfully for the youth symphony. For four years, between 2016-2020, we drove to Knoxville every week for rehearsals and concerts at the Tennessee Theater. The children made progress slowly but surely, advancing through the orchestra levels.
There are six orchestras, six conductors, many assistants and volunteers who make this program possible. The director of the program is Kathy Hart, who also directs Sinfonia, one of the orchestras. Ms. Hart is such a sought-after violin teacher that her waiting list is three years deep. Some people have put their children down on that list at birth, so the child can start at age three.
KSYO has been around for almost three decades and has provided wonderful opportunities for orchestral education in a professional setting, while preparing new audiences to appreciate classical music. I just paraphrased their mission statement.
Through the pandemic, we chose not to attend because of the mask mandate. Now that, hopefully, we have put all that behind us for good, we let the children audition again and they got accepted at higher levels than where they were two years ago. Progress, not perfection, that’s what we like to say.
Our son is in the Youth Chamber, the second level from the top. Our daughter is in Philharmonia, the fourth level from the top. We look forward to a new year of beautiful music and growth.