The Wichita Falls Youth Symphony is focused this year on reinvigorating traditions of musical excellence. 
After surviving a year that was neither vigorous nor traditional, YSO finds itself in a unique position to reevaluate all its traditions and ask what really hurt when we lost it last year? What makes orchestra great that we want to focus on elevating this year? At its heart, orchestra is about coming together to create beautiful music, so the education vision this year is to bring kids together with an artistic team who have both expertise and passion and support the students in performing the best of orchestra repertoire.
It’s a joy to see the energy level rise in the students each week as they work on classics like Gershwin’s An American in Paris, von Suppe’s Light Cavalry Orchestra, and Offenbach’s Finale from Orpheus (AKA the Can Can). They know they are part of the “big conversation,” performing the music that top orchestras around the globe have performed for decades. Audience members may not recognize music titles, but they will instantly recognize the music when they hear it and get chills because they’ll know it’s the “good stuff.”
Studies show that low-income students in band and orchestra are more than twice as likely to achieve the highest levels of math as their peers, and students who study instrumental music earn more academic honors and awards than non-music students. Early access to quality music education not only builds a strong foundation for musical growth, but also supports all education. Studies show students who study instrumental music are more likely to graduate from college and have a greater life.
  At today’s Rotary Club meeting, executive director Jean Hall spoke of YSO’s commitment to offering access to that kind of quality music education for a broad cross section of area students through the top-level Symphonic Orchestra, the developmental Philharmonic Orchestra, and the educational outreach Gail Key Academy of Music which partners with elementary schools to offer subsidized strings lessons. Across Wichita Falls, students from 20 schools participate in WFYSO programs
Philharmonic Conductor Kathy Liticker treated members to a performance Ashokan’s Farewell on her violin.
Each year WFYSO grants one $1,000 scholarship towards college expenses. All WFYSO participants can compete for the scholarship, not just those who will study music in college. Judging focuses on Musical Excellence, Academic Excellence and Volunteer Work.
Additionally Jean thanked SW Rotary for the funding that sponsors all sectional coaching for the entire woodwind and brass students for one entire semester. This means sectional instruction for flutes, clarinets, saxophones, oboes, trumpets, French horns, euphoniums, tubas and trombones would be happening because of you. 
The YSO seeks to hire college students in the music field so that while they teach our youth as sectional coaches, they themselves are learning invaluable job skills and learning to find satisfaction in leading and teaching. Our SW Rotary grant to WFYSO serves the dual purpose of educating high school students and college students.
The Fall Concert will be Sunday, November 7 at 4 pm at MSU’s Akin Auditorium, and all are invited to enjoy and be moved by the “good stuff” these kids create. Admission is free. For more information on the Wichita Falls Youth Symphony and the Fall Concert, visit their website.
Why WFYSO, not because we need music, but because we need musicians!