Front Range Youth Symphony

The Front Range Youth Symphony Orchestras bring together talented young musicians from across the Front Range for a unique study and training in Orchestral repertoire. Developed from a merger of the former Golden Youth and Arvada Center Youth Symphonies in 1990, the program offers four levels of participation: Academy Strings, Concert Strings, Chamber Strings, and Youth Symphony. The group has toured on both coasts of the United States, the Bahamas, and Europe including a Walt Disney World performance tour in June of 2016. They have performed with National and guests artists such as the Lehnert Duo, Skip DeVol, Charles Langley, and Colcannon. The Youth Symphony has enjoyed many years of cooperation and educational collaborations with the National Repertory Orchestra, the Breckenridge Music Institute, Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra and the Colorado Chamber Orchestra.


Students who are members of any FRYS group are also required to participate in their school's instrumental music program. It is our belief that public school music programs offer students, among other things, valuable ensemble training and necessary repetition. The Front Range Youth Symphony Orchestras seek to enhance, not replace, school music programs. 

Annual auditions are held in May. Auditions for openings that may exist are held throughout the year by appointment.

Features of the orchestras include:

  • Weekly rehearsals at the Arvada Center August through April
  • At least three performances per season at the Arvada Center
  • Professional Section Coaches/Guest Artists/Master Classes
  • Summer Camp 

 

Spring Concert - 2018

Rehearsal: Sunday, April 29, 6-10

Concert:  Monday, April 30th, 7:00

 

2018-2019 Season: General and Audition Information

AUDITIONS FOR 2018-19 SEASON: MAY 5th and 12th

By appointment only  

To set up an audition appointment and pay the $15 audition fee, contact the Arvada Center Box Office at 720-898-7200 during regular business hours:  

Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Sunday 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. 

For other questions contact Julie Payne at  jpayne@arvadacenter.org

Pay FRYS Tuition

Summer Camps

Academy Strings, Concert Strings, Chamber Orchestra: Tue – Thu (mornings) July 31 – Aug 2 Arvada Center

Youth Symphony: Thu August 2 (evening) – Arvada Center AND Fri/Sat August 3-4 Breckenridge

Mandatory Parent Meeting  - Tuesday, August 21 st 7:00 p.m.

 

Rehearsals

Youth Symphony, begins Tuesday, August 28, 6:30-9:00

Academy Strings, begins Wednesday, August 29, 5:45-6:30

 

Concert Strings, begins Wednesday, August 29, 6:30-7:30

Chamber Orchestra, begins Wednesday, August 29, 7:30-9:00

 

 

FRONT RANGE YOUTH SYMPHONY

Conducted by Danielle Johnson, this orchestra provides unique training in orchestral repertoire for advanced high school and college-age musicians up to the age of 21. All orchestral string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments are welcome. All instrumentalists should have commanding facility on their instrument.

 

*Rehearsals on Tuesday evenings from 6:30-9:00

 

Youth Symphony participants:

 

  • are advanced players with solid instrumental technique and good intonation

 

  • are familiar with all key signatures and time signatures

 

  • have had several years of ensemble experience

 

  • are a member of their school’s instrumental music program

 

Orchestra music: Grade 5+

Suzuki level (strings): Book 7 - 10

Ages: 9th grade-age 21

 

 

Audition Requirements for Youth Symphony

Strings:

- a 3-octave scale based on the key of your solo

  • a solo of your choice (about 2-3 minutes) that shows your highest level of technique on your instrument
  • at the audition you will be given a short excerpt to sight-read

 

Woodwind and Brass:

  • a 2-octave scale based on the key of your solo
  • a chromatic 2-octave scale
  • be prepared to articulate your scales in various ways
  • a solo of your choice (about 2-3 minutes) that shows your highest level of technique on your instrument
  • at the audition you will be given a short excerpt to sight-read

 

Percussion:

  • a solo on any 2 of the 3 following areas: timpani, keyboard percussion, or snare drum. Timpani and xylophone will be provided.
  • timpanists should be able to tune the timpani using relative pitch and demonstrate a proper forte-piano roll
  • keyboard percussionists need to play a major and minor scale of the adjudicator’s choice

snare drum percussionists will be asked to demonstrate 2 of the 26 rudiments of the adjudicator’s choice, slow to fast to slow

The season begins with a required three-day summer music camp, starting at the Arvada Center and concluding with an overnight retreat in Breckenridge, CO with the Breckenridge Music Institute.

Tuition: $475 for the Season  

Summer Camp Tuition: $130

Audition Fee: $15

Rehearsals: Tuesdays, 6:30 to 9:00 PM

August, 2018 through April, 2019

CHAMBER ORCHESTRA

Conducted by Javan Carson, this orchestra was formed to create a high-level string ensemble, to perform advanced chamber literature. This is a program for students who have played for several years and have had private lessons. The Chamber Orchestra concentrates on refining students’ orchestral playing techniques by focusing on ensemble skills, sight-reading, advanced playing positions, and advanced bowing techniques. Students must audition to participate in the program.

 

*Rehearsals on Wednesday evenings from 7:30-9:00

 

Chamber Orchestra participants:

 

  • can tune their own instrument

 

  • can sight-read in 1st through 3rd positions (violins/violas), 1st through 4th (cellos)

 

  • are familiar with keys up to 4 sharps and 3 flats

 

  • are able to play spiccato at different speeds and have started working on more advanced bow techniques

 

  • violins and violas can play fluently in 1st through 3rd positions and can play in 4th and 5th positions (Violas should have basic knowledge of treble clef). Cellos can play fluently in 1st through 4th positions and have basic knowledge of tenor clef

 

  • can play with fluent vibrato

 

  • have a few years of ensemble experience

 

  • are a member of their school’s instrumental music program

 

 

Orchestra music: Grade 3.5 - 5

Suzuki level: late Book 4 - Book 7 (violin), late Book 4 - 6 (viola and cello)

Ages: 11-Senior in high school

 

 

 

Audition Requirements for Chamber Orchestra

 

  • a 3-octave major and a 3-octave minor scale
  • a solo of your choice (about 2-3 minutes) that shows your highest level of technique on your instrument
  • at the audition you will be given a short excerpt to sight-read

 

The season begins with a required three-day summer music camp at the Arvada Center.

 

Tuition: $375 for the Season

Summer Camp Tuition: $100

Audition Fee: $15

Rehearsals: Wednesdays, 7:30 to 9:00 PM

August, 2018 through April, 2019

CONCERT STRINGS ORCHESTRA

Conducted by Javan Carson, this is a program for students who have played for two to three years and have had private lessons for at least one year. This group emphasizes ensemble and music reading skills, and the development of orchestral playing techniques. Students must audition to participate in the program.

 

*Rehearsals on Wednesday evenings from 6:30-7:30

 

Concert Strings participants:

 

  • can sight-read all notes in 1st position

 

  • are familiar with keys up to 3 sharps and 2 flats

 

  • are able to use their whole bow, and have started working on spiccato

 

  • have started working on shifting (violins/violas), can shift (cellos)

 

- have started working on vibrato

 

  • have some ensemble experience

 

- are a member of their school’s instrumental music program

 

Orchestra music: Grade 2 - 3

Suzuki level: Book 3 - 5

Ages: 8 - 14

 

Audition Requirements for Concert Strings

 

  • a 2-octave major and a 2-octave minor scale
  • a solo of your choice (about 2-3 minutes) that shows your highest level of technique on your instrument
  • at the audition you will be given a short excerpt to sight-read

 

The season begins with a required three-day summer music camp at the Arvada Center .

Tuition: $375 for the Season

Summer Camp Tuition: $100

Audition Fee: $15

Rehearsals:  Wednesdays, 6:30 to 7:30 PM

August, 2018 through April, 2019

ACADEMY STRINGS

Conducted by Michelle Ewer, this is a preparatory group intended for students with between one and three years of experience. This group will help students with their school music programs using a curriculum that supports and augments their musical endeavors. Focus is on technique and creating a quality string tone while having fun learning. This class is perfect for those students who may need a smaller ensemble opportunity or for those who have switched instruments and need some extra help.

 

*Rehearsals on Wednesday evenings from 5:45-6:30

 

Academy Strings participants:

 

  • can read all notes in 1st position

 

  • have had 1 - 3 years of playing experience

 

  • are a member of their school’s instrumental music program

 

 

Orchestra music: Grade 1 - 2

Suzuki level: Book 1 - 3

Ages: 8 - 8th grade

 

 

While this group does not require an audition, please contact Julie Payne to make sure it is the right fit for your student.

The season begins with a required three-day summer music camp at the Arvada Center.

 

Tuition: $250 for the Season

Summer Camp Tuition: $100

Audition not required

Rehearsals:  Wednesdays, 5:45-6:30

August, 2018 through April, 2019

 

 

Our Conductors

Danielle Johnson

Danielle Johnson is sought after as a guest clinician and adjudicator along the Front Range. An active freelance performer, Johnson is a violist in the Steamboat Symphony.  For 12 years, she spent the summer months as Dean of Women and Interdisciplinary Faculty Instructor for the string chamber music program, Rocky Mountain Summer Conservatory. She is now on staff with Voyageurs, Int.  In 2013, Johnson was named Colorado's "Music Director Who Makes a Difference" by the publication  School Band & Orchestra.   Johnson received her bachelor of music education from Wheaton College Conservatory in Wheaton, Illinois, and her masters in violin performance/pedagogy at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She currently teaches orchestra at Mountain Range High School in the Adams 12 District. Previously, she taught for Wheaton's pre-college program, the International School of Bangkok in Thailand, Boulder Suzuki Strings, and the public schools in Omaha, Nebraska and Northglenn, Colorado.

Javan Carson

Javan Carson has been playing the violin for most of her life, having started as a Suzuki student at age two.  She earned her degree in violin performance from the University of Denver on a full scholarship, and began playing professionally with the Denver Chamber Orchestra while still in college.  Ms. Carson has played in a string quartet for more than 30 years, and has performed with countless orchestras, including the Colorado Ballet Orchestra and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.  She has played with such performers as Doc Severinsen, Mel Torme, Kathy Lee Gifford, Mannheim Steamroller, Stevie Wonder, Marco Antonio Solis, and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys.

Ms. Carson has been teaching private violin, viola, and piano lessons for more than 30 years, has instructed Suzuki group classes for fifteen years, and has taught string classes in four metro-area school districts.  She was the conductor of the Sinfonia at Colorado Youth Symphony Orchestras for five years, and for two years was the Music Director and Conductor of Eklectika Youth Ensembles, an innovative youth orchestra that she founded. She was the conductor for the String Ensembles and the Conservatory Orchestras at Denver Young Artists Orchestras for ten years.   Ms. Carson is in demand as an adjudicator, clinician, and chamber coach throughout Colorado.

Michelle Ewer

Mrs. Ewer has taught instrumental music for 33 years.  She currently teaches orchestra at Creighton Middle School and the five elementary schools that feed into it.  She is a past president of the Colorado Music Educators Association, the Colorado String Teacher's Association and recipient of the Colorado Music Educators Hall of Fame Award.  She is in high demand as a clinician throughout Colorado.