Mead Botanical Garden and Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra announce open air performance venue

Winter Park's Mead Botanical Garden will soon be home to one of the region's most unique multi-purpose public performance venues. The "Grove at Mead Botanical Garden," an open air pavilion designed for musical performance, theatrical productions, film viewings and educational programming, will be located in the heart of the 47-acre public garden in Winter Park. It will serve the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra (FSYO) as its preferred site for outdoor concerts.

A groundbreaking ceremony for Phase I of the project will be held on Monday, August 27, 8:30 a.m. by City of Winter Park, Mead Botanical Garden, Inc. and the FSYO, who are partnering on the project. On December 9, FSYO plans to hold its inaugural performance at The Grove. The program will feature all four FSYO Orchestras.

"The Grove will add to the rich social, cultural and economic life in Winter Park and the region," said Winter Park Mayor Ken Bradley when the project was first announced. "The venue is part of the garden's revival thanks to the commitment of the City and its partner, Mead Botanical Garden."

Stringmania! 2012: That's a Wrap!

Stringmania! is a two-week long musically enriching program for young, advancing string players. Participants are provided with a challenging and fun musical experience that includes: orchestra & chamber ensemble experiences, chamber group coaching, private lessons, instruction in fiddling and improvisation and more.

Jessica Talbott, former FSYO Overture Strings conductor, serves as Artistic Director, and leads the camp with assistance from Jeancarlo Gonzalez. Stringmania coaching is provided by string players from FSYO's Symphonic Orchestra; connecting younger Stringmania students in learning with older FSYO students in teaching gives all students a chance to explore new friendships and skills.

The 2012 Stringmania! summer camp brought together new and returning campers for 2 weeks of fun. Check out pictures from camp below.

Click here for more information on Stringmania!.

FSYO Welcomes New Overture Strings Conductor

Sarah Morrison is currently director of the orchestra program at Rochelle School of the Arts in Lakeland, where she teaches second through eighth grade strings, including beginning second and third grade Suzuki Violin, the Amati and Stradivari Orchestras, and the Swinging Strings alternative styles ensemble. Ms. Morrison earned her Master of Music Education and Master of Music in Violin Performance from Florida State University and her Bachelor of Arts in Music and Humanities from Rollins College in Winter Park. Ms. Morrison has also completed her Suzuki Violin Book One Teacher Training at the Atlanta Suzuki Institute. Prior to teaching in Florida, Ms. Morrison directed the orchestras at Crownover Middle School in Denton, Texas, from 2002 to 2006, and served as elementary string specialist in the public schools of Salem, Oregon.

Donna McCue Accepts Board of Directors Presidency for 2012 - 2013

Donna McCue, the mother of three Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra alumni, will serve as president of the organization’s board of directors for the 2012-2013 concert season. Since her children graduated from FSYO in 2002, she has worked as Senior Chemist for Orlando Utilities Commission, monitoring drinking water quality and the environmental waters of the Stanton Energy Center.

 “We are very proud of our history, our alumni and of the young musicians who make up the FSYO,” Donna said in accepting her office. “Their talent and discipline inspire us as parents, staff and directors to work hard to ensure that they continue to receive the quality education and performance opportunities that FSYO is known for.” She credited the organization’s 20 Community Partners, plus foundations and individual donors, for delivering affordable programs and scholarship funds. “Your attendance at our concerts helps us with that mission,” she added.

Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra to Honor Local Educators

Lisa Hopko resizeOn Sunday, February 28, the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra will present its annual Celebration of Music Education concert, paying tribute to the incredible music education programs in Central Florida. Held at the Edgewater High School auditorium, the concert will feature the FSYO Overture Strings, Prelude, and Philharmonia orchestras, and intends to recognize the invaluable contributions of music teachers to the lives of students. The concert will also raise awareness of the profound effect of music education on students' development.

The FSYO will also be honoring Lisa Hopko at this performance. Ms. Hopko is a veteran music teacher in Central Florida, with eighteen years at Maitland Middle School teaching orchestra, chamber music, and guitar classes at a multitude of skill levels. A violist and Florida native, she graduated from Manatee High School, and continued at the University of Central Florida where she earned her Bachelor's in Music Education. Ms. Hopko is a regular face at Florida Music Educators Association/Florida Orchestra Association events and at Music Performance Assessment performances across the state.

"Students who seek the highest level of musical achievement should be heartily involved in their school program, have private instruction, be inspired in the art of practice, and be a part of a quality youth orchestra. The FSYO has consistently provided that experience and is a cornerstone of music education in the Central Florida community. "- Lisa Hopko

FSYO recognizes music educators and the life changing work they do every day. Their devotion imparts an invaluable experience in the lives of their students and enhances the level at which organizations, like the FSYO, can perform. By acknowledging and celebrating the key role music education plays in the lives of youth, the audience can experience and appreciate the merits of the players and the educators that have inspired them.

The concert will begin at 4:00 PM. Tickets range from $8 to $16, and can be purchased at This concert is part of the Season Subscription Package. The address for Edgewater High School is 3100 Edgewater Dr. Orlando FL, 32804. As always, teachers receive free admission to this and all FSYO events.

Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra Now Taking Audition Applications for 60th Season

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The Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra is now accepting applications for their upcoming 60th concert season beginning in August 2016. FSYO is calling for young, high spirited Central Florida musicians to embark on a journey of musical education, inspiration and development.

FSYO is distinguished as one of the nation's top youth orchestras. Their focus on providing students with a complete educational experience during rehearsals and in a variety of live performance opportunities throughout the year contributes to the students' and program's success. A majority of their alumni have continued onto college, many pursuing music at prestigious schools such as Juilliard School of Music, Eastman School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, New England Conservatory, among others.

FSYO auditions are for standard orchestral instruments and will be held for both new and returning members. Membership is available for all four of FSYO's award winning orchestras. Please take into consideration that each ensemble has a limited number of spots and an audition does not guarantee placement in FSYO. Acceptance and placement is completely merit-based, and those who audition are subjected to meet specific criteria to be considered.

Auditions require that participants prepare a specific excerpt posted on the FSYO website here for the orchestra for which they are auditioning, as well as a one-minute solo of their choice and scales as listed. Applications for the 2016-2017 season are due by Friday April 22, 2016.

ABOUT: The Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra aims to educate and inspire Florida's top young musicians through programs committed to strengthening musical talents and developing appreciation of the arts through classical music. The FSYO, in its 59th Concert Season, comprises three full orchestras and one string training orchestra made up of more than 250 students from eight Central Florida counties.

Programs are sponsored in part by the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs; the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; Darden Restaurant Foundation; Universal Orlando Foundation and United Arts of Central Florida. The FSYO is a non-profit 501(c) (3) charitable organization. For more information, please visit | | @fsyo (twitter) | @f_s_y_o (instagram) |

Florida Symphony Youth Orchestras | (407) 999-7800 |

Florida Symphony Youth Orchestras is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Florida Symphony Youth Orchestras is supported in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and United Arts of Central Florida, host of and the collaborative Campaign for the Arts.

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