We teach violin, viola, cello and string bass simultaneously in group classes using curriculum designed to have the instruments all learn and play together. Our programs follow the school calendar year, with special classes offered in summer. Our program is available to students from 3rd through 12th grade.
Youth Orchestra Ensembles
After as little as two years of group class, many students are prepared to join the Junior Orchestra, a preparatory-level string orchestra for students throughout the area. The Chamber Orchestra is our top-level ensemble, giving the most dedicated players further opportunity to develop their ensemble playing.
Our students perform twice a year in concerts featuring all class levels and ensembles. These concerts are free and open to the public. We also perform for the community throughout the year for various events.
Community Outreach & Partnerships
We have performed for many charity and non-profit events and fundraisers. Not only is music our gift to our community, but it provides valuable experience to our young musicians. We are proud to partner with Greater Albany Public Schools, Linn-Benton Community College, and local businesses and churches for instructional space, equipment, curriculum, and resource sharing.
The Mid-Valley Prelude Sinfonia youth orchestra program was started in 2007 by parents who wanted to create an opportunity for youth in the Albany area to learn the violin, viola, cello, or string bass. There was no youth orchestra program in the schools, and very few private instructors.
From a single small class in 2007, we have expanded our program to five different orchestral levels and added piano, electronic music production and podcasting classes.
2021 also marked a banner year with a name change to Albany Youth Orchestra and a move to a new home, the AYO Music Center at 1405 Pacific Blvd, next to Browsers' Bookstore. We are retaining MVPS for business reasons, so you will see both names occasionally. Our new location allows us to offer classes to students from any school, offer a wider range of classes, more efficiently serve our partner schools, and be able to serve our growing student population more effectively.
The Mid-Valley Prelude Sinfonia dba Albany Youth Orchestra is a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit organization whose goal is to provide quality, affordable opportunities for youth in the Mid-Valley area to play violin, viola, cello, or string bass in a group setting.
Learning to play an instrument has a lasting beneficial benefit on brain development as well as on social and emotional development. Most musicians will agree that playing music adds many benefits to their lives. Our hope is to bring this experience to as many local youth as possible, so that they can experience for themselves the joy, satisfaction and pride of playing an instrument.
No Financial Barriers
We believe that great music education should be accessible to every child. We provide need-based tuition assistance, as well as financial support , instrumental rental, concert attire, and other support as needed.
Read about our Vision, Values and Inclusivity Statement
AYO believes music belongs to everyone and should be accessible for everyone
Meet our Executive Director and Bilingual Support Staff.
Meet our Instructors
Meet our Board of Directors
We are so incredibly grateful for our sponsors!
AYO envisions a community that makes excellent music education available to all young people in the Mid-Valley area.
AYO is committed to:
AYO is committed to being a welcoming and safe community for young musicians and their families of all cultures, races, religions, genders, sexual orientations, and circumstances.
Fighting racial injustice connects to the very core of the Mid-Valley Prelude Sinfonia — to make music available to all children in the area. We hold equity and inclusion as the cornerstone of our organization. No student is expendable. The death of George Floyd and so many before him has elicited grief and outrage in every corner of the nation, including here in Linn County. The well-being of our community requires that we acknowledge the pain, fear, and disillusionment that exist for many of our young students of color. It is a fact that systematic racism has, and still does, produce lower incomes and large gaps in generational wealth for people of color in the United States.
Youth music education, especially the individual study of instrumental music, has been exhaustively shown in the scientific literature to increase children's learning aptitudes and provide important social and mental health benefits. These are lifelong benefits. It is also known that poverty and racial disparities work in the opposite direction. Providing such a valuable resource to all children, but most especially to those at risk, is our way of pushing aside the barriers for these kids who could see lifelong benefit from music, yet may be the least likely to encounter it.
We are committed to breaking down the barriers that prevent BIPOC children from access to youth educational opportunities. Working with our community partners, we envision a world without racism where all children can enjoy the gift of music.
MVPS Board of Directors
Kim has been with AYO since 2009 as an instructor and conductor, and stepped into the role of the organization's first Executive Director in 2018. Her goals for the organization are to make orchestra classes available for all students in Albany and greater Linn County, and to ensure that classes are available to all children without barriers.
Emily joined us in 2021. Her responsibilities include communications, social media, and helping us become more sustainable financially as we grow. Emily grew up in Albany and loves being part of bringing youth music to the community. She recently received a degree from WOU in Spanish and business. She also plays viola!!
Isaac Andrew is a performer, educator and conductor. He holds music education and performance degrees from Azusa Pacific University and Cal State Long Beach. Isaac teaches cello for AYO and tuba and euphonium at Oregon State University and Linn Benton Community College and is a founding member of Chintimini Brass. He currently performs and teaches low brass, electric bass, cello and ukulele in groups from praise bands to swing bands, symphony orchestras to acoustic trios. He enjoys sharing the joys of music with others, training for triathlons and video games!
Amber joined us in 2022 and will be teaching orchestra at Liberty Elementary. After receiving a minor in violin performance from BYU, she has resumed her studies and is excited to be teaching. She performs with the LBCC ensembles and the Albany String Orchestra as both an orchestra member and soloist. Amber teaches privately in Albany.
Jasmine has an extensive music background, starting with being an orchestra kid in school! She recently received her music production degree from OSU. Jasmine plays and teaches guitar, bass, keyboard and violin and is a composer and audio engineer. Jasmine teaches orchestra classes at South Shore Elementary and the AYO Music Center, leads the AYO Junior Orchestra, and teaches our piano classes.
I am Julie Ritchey and I have taught elementary music in public schools since 1997. I received my bachelors degree from BYU in 1996 and my masters degree from OSU in 2005. This will be my 9th year teaching strings at South Shore Elementary School. I love teaching music and inspiring kids. I believe music creates an opportunity to help students see that they can do hard things. The confidence they gain can also help them in their future.
Denver Speelman graduated summa cum laude from OSU with a Bachelor of Arts in Music. At Oregon State he studied violin with Jessica Lambert and was the recipient of the Homer Maris Music Scholarship. He has performed with the Corvallis-OSU Symphony, the Willamette Valley Symphony, the OSU Opera Workshop, the Corvallis Repertory Singers, and the Eugene Ballet. Denver teaches classes at North Albany Elementary, Oak Grove Elementary, the AYO Music School and conducts the AYO Chamber Orchestra. He teaches violin and viola privately in Corvallis.
2022: Jan 10, Feb 14, Mar 14, April 11, May 9, June 13, July 11, Aug 9, Sept 12, Oct 11, Nov 14, Dec 12.
Meetings 7pm in person at the AYO Music Center, 1405 Pacific Blvd SE, Albany. Meetings are open to the public. Interested individuals are encouraged to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Become a part of a vibrant and growing youth program!
Nicole Kalita joined the AYO Board in 2019. She became part of AYO when her son joined the program at South Shore Elementary School in 2016 (he is now one of the cellists in the Chamber Orchestra). Nicole believes that music plays an important role in building resilience in children, giving them an escape from whatever may cause them stre
Nicole Kalita joined the AYO Board in 2019. She became part of AYO when her son joined the program at South Shore Elementary School in 2016 (he is now one of the cellists in the Chamber Orchestra). Nicole believes that music plays an important role in building resilience in children, giving them an escape from whatever may cause them stress. She is honored to be a member of the AYO Board and help promote AYO's mission of providing music education to Albany's youth.
Heather has been a parent with our program from the very beginning in 2007 and we are very happy to have her join our organization as a board member. Her career in small business makes her the perfect fit for a small, community-led nonprofit like AYO.
Carrie Falotico has two children involved in AYO, beginning in 2016. She joined the board in 2019, and was elected Secretary in June 2020. She believes learning to play an instrument has many positive effects on children's development that benefit many areas of their lives, and that access to music programs should be available to all children.
Nicole is a mom of three who joined our board in 2019. Her son has been in our program for three years and her daughter will be starting her second year. She brings incredible energy and a true commitment to volunteering.
Logan is the first student to have a position on the AYO Board. He has been involved with the program for five years, starting with the cello in fourth grade. He moved up to the double bass in sixth grade, because that was what he had wanted to play from the beginning. He has learned quite a lot from the program and recommends it highly to anyone who is interested in playing string instruments.
Scott has been with the AYO board for seven years and has had two children in our program. He has previously held the president and treasurer positions.
Nancy founded Mid-Valley Prelude Sinfonia in 2007 with Cheryl French and Sandra Byers to provide her two sons an opportunity for group music, as there was no program in the schools. Nancy also plays cello!
Allison joined our board in 2022.
Nicole Schukow works at LBCC and is a mother of four. Three of her children have been in orchestra and her youngest will join when he is old enough. As a PTA mom she wanted to help grow the orchestra program in both her children’s school as well as other schools in Albany. Although Nicole never learned as a child how to play an instrumen
Nicole Schukow works at LBCC and is a mother of four. Three of her children have been in orchestra and her youngest will join when he is old enough. As a PTA mom she wanted to help grow the orchestra program in both her children’s school as well as other schools in Albany. Although Nicole never learned as a child how to play an instrument or read music, she loves listening to her children play and learn a new life skill.
Ron joined our board in 2019. He comes with strong family ties to music and a dedication to providing Albany youth with musical education. Ron is an accountant who brings financial expertise to our organization.
Matt joined our board in 2022.
Julie joined our board in 2022.
Jerry joined our board in 2022.
Interested individuals are encouraged to contact us at email@example.com. Become a part of a vibrant and growing youth program!
Mid-Valley Prelude Sinfonia is a 501(c)(3) registered nonprofit organization whose goal is to provide affordable strings education to youth in the greater Albany area. Mid-Valley Prelude Sinfonia receives support from the Oregon Arts Commission, a state agency funded by the State of Oregon and the National Endowment for the Arts and is supported in part by a grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust, investing in Oregon's arts, humanities and heritage and by the Linn County Cultural Coalition.
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