Our History

Founded in 1964, the Youth Symphony Orchestras of East Central Indiana bring together young musicians from Delaware and surrounding counties to provide weekly orchestral experiences specifically tailored for students. The mission of YSOECI is to provide weekly musical experiences and education for young musicians through its programs and activities, which include concerts, rehearsals, special events, and field trips.

YSOECI holds rehearsals and classes on Mondays between 3:30 and 8:00 p.m. during the school year. Rehearsals are held at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2801 W. Riverside Ave, Muncie, IN 47304.

Orchestras and Programs

YSOECI’s ambition is to develop the musical talent and nurture the personal growth of young people in Muncie and East Central Indiana through the rehearsal and performance of orchestral masterworks, both traditional and contemporary.

Youth Symphony Orchestra

The Youth Symphony Orchestra (YSO) is open to advanced players of strings, brass, woodwind, percussion, and harp instruments.  Students in the Youth Symphony Orchestra should have strong proficiency in reading music and should be of sufficient behavioral and emotional maturity to concentrate and participate in a weekly, two hour rehearsal held on Monday afternoons, typically from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Led by Conductor Matt Spieker, YSO is an advanced orchestral experience intended for students who have had previous orchestral or ensemble experience.  Placement in the orchestra is by audition.

Participation in YSO is not intended to replace school or private music lessons.

Intermezzo Orchestra

The Intermezzo Orchestra is open to intermediate players of string instruments.  Intermezzo students should have proficiency reading notes on all four strings in first position and should be of sufficient behavioral and emotional maturity to concentrate and participate in a weekly, one hour rehearsal held on Monday afternoons, typically from 5:00 to 5:55 p.m.

Led by Elisabeth Ohly-Davis, the Intermezzo Orchestra is an intermediate orchestral experience who wish to further develop their skills in this area.  Placement in the orchestra is by audition.

Participation in the Intermezzo Orchestra is not intended to replace school or private music lessons.

Overture Strings

Overture Strings is comprised of beginning string players who have studied their instruments for approximately one year in the Prelude program or elsewhere.  Overture students should be comfortable with a D Major scale, and should be of sufficient behavioral and emotional maturity to concentrate and participate actively in a weekly, one hour rehearsal held on Monday afternoons, typically from 4:00-4:55 p.m.

Prelude Orchestra

The Prelude Orchestra is a beginning stringed instrument education program in which students with zero to little exposure to string instruments (violin, viola, cello, and bass) are offered weekly instruction in small 55-minute classes of 5-10 students. Instruction is by Ball State University music students specially selected for the Partnership Program. Students receive instruction on their specific instruments, as well as instruction in music fundamentals (note reading and music theory) each week.

Prelude at the Ross Center and Prelude at Motivate Our Minds are unique programs in which Youth Symphony staff, board members, and volunteers provide beginning stringed instrument instruction to students enrolled in Ross Community Center and Motivate Our Minds programs.  These programs are a favorite among staff and community members alike.

Suzuki-Based Violin Class

The Suzuki-based violin class for 5- and 6-year-olds is a beginning violin class that employs Suzuki method teaching techniques and principles. Children focus on technique, beginning music reading, listening and aural learning, and the joy of making music.  Suzuki-certified violin instructor, Tiffany Arnold, teaches this 45-minute class of 10 or fewer children.  Class meets from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. on Monday afternoons.  Learn more about the Suzuki method here.

Chamber Program

Students in the Youth Symphony Orchestra or Intermezzo Orchestra have the option of participating in our Chamber Program, in which students are placed in small chamber ensembles (such as quartets, trios, etc.) to learn and perform chamber music, coached by BSU Partnership Program students.  Chamber Program tuition is an additional $50 per semester.

School Enrollment Policy

All YSOECI activities are intended to supplement school music programs, not replace them.  Students who attend a school with a large ensemble program (such as orchestra or band) for their instrument will be required to enroll in their school’s ensemble while they are in YSOECI.  This policy supports the YSOECI philosophy of complementing school music programs while taking into account the value of broad and deep musical learning experiences students can receive from our programs.

Some students may have legitimate reasons for not being in their school’s ensembles (e.g. class scheduling conflicts that are out of their control).  A student may request permission to be exempt from this policy by contacting Executive Director Tiffany Arnold.

Mask Policy

As local schools, per state and CDC guidelines, have relaxed mask mandates, making them optional, YSOECI will follow suit and make masks optional at this time. Our policy going forward will be to reflect the CDC’s recommendations from week to week, and if community levels rise, masks may once again be required until such time as community levels are lower. Members are advised to track Delaware County’s community positivity levels and follow the recommendations as of the day of rehearsal or event. Those students coming from outside the county are asked to be aware of levels both in Delaware County and their home county, and if coming from an area registered as a hotspot, to observe those pertinent recommendations for the higher risk area when coming to YSOECI rehearsals and events. If the status of mask requirement is reinstated due to CDC recommendations, YSOECI will return to mask optional status as soon as is reasonably possible.

Cultural Equity Statement

The Youth Symphony Orchestras of East Central Indiana (YSOECI) believe in the intrinsic dignity of all individuals and that the inclusion of diverse experiences and perspectives strengthens our organization and increases its capacity to address challenges, break down barriers, think critically, cultivate empathy, make wise decisions, and explore new opportunities. We believe that to be effective and perform well requires an environment of respect and belonging, as well as equitable policies, fair and consistent practices, and worthwhile engagement.

Our organization believes in and respects diverse backgrounds and traditions, talents and influences, heritages and beliefs, skill sets and experiences. We recognize the meaningful contributions made by diverse peoples and aim to use music as a catalyst for community engagement and social understanding. YSOECI believes that music should be accessible to all, regardless of cultural, geographic, or financial considerations. Our organization encourages inclusion through access to music education and performance opportunities by ensuring that all qualified students may participate in YSOECI regardless of socio-economic factors.

We commit to include a dynamic and diverse board, to continue to educate beyond the traditional classroom setting, and to expose our students and audiences to inclusive and diverse repertoire, including works by women, minority, underrepresented, and living composers.