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Youth Orchestras Offer Opportunity in Rogue Valley

Music teachers and Rogue Valley Symphony members joined in 1988 in creating the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon, a place to learn and to play orchestral literature.  Its first concert was in Ashland.

In 1936 Medford music teacher John R. Knight founded a similar organization called the Medford Junior Symphony, known later as the Southern Oregon Junior Symphony. His goal was similar, but he also wanted to expand the opportunities for the community to hear and appreciate classical music and to provide orchestral accompaniment for other musicians.
The orchestra played two concerts in March 1936, one in Medford and the other in Grants Pass. They played selections from Dvorak, Hayden, Rubenstein and Schumann. The featured soloist was 13-year-old Grants Pass violinist Marcia Van Dyke, who later won national attention as a virtuoso and movie actress.  
Today’s Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon supports young musicians, not only in a concert series, but in chamber music groups and other ensembles. In addition they sponsor a concerto competition. For their 25th anniversary season they commissioned a new work by Mark Jacobs about local history.  In the 2014-15 season, another of Jacob’s history works will be premiered.

Sources:"History of the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon." Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Aug. 2014. 
"History of the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon." Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon. Web. 14 Aug. 2014.

Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.