Group Orchestra Method Classes
We teach violin, viola, cello, and upright 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.
Keyboard, Choir, Pre-K and Other Music Classes
We teach these foundational music classes in group settings at the AYO Music Center.
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.
Concerts and Performances
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, choir, and other 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. 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 and instrumental rental.
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.
Cari joined AYO in 2023 as our first Program Director. Her goals for the organization are to continue our growth so we can serve more youth and to become more financially sustainable.
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!
Delaney joined us in 2023 and will be teaching orchestra at North Albany Elementary, where she teaches general music. Raised in a musical family, Delaney is an experienced player and private teacher. She studied music and violin at Southern Virginia University and Portland State University and has her undergraduate and Master's degrees in music education. She has been teaching violin privately for 14 years and is excited to continue her learning by teaching Orchestra with AYO at North Albany Elementary.
Sharon first joined us in 2017 and we are delighted to have her return for 2023! A dedicated and inspirational music educator, Sharon teaches violin, viola, cello, flute, voice, piano, guitar, theory, composition, and pre-K classes and private lessons. She will be back at Oak Grove Elementary and at the AYO Music Center. Sharon is fluent in Spanish..
AYO's program director is also an orchestra player and teacher! Cari plays viola and violin and will be teaching at Liberty and the AYO Music Center.
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 and piano classes at South Shore Elementary and the AYO Music Center and leads the AYO Junior Orchestra.
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 10th 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.
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!
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. She continues to be active with the organization because she feels strongly about the value of youth music education and making it accessible and affordable
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. She continues to be active with the organization because she feels strongly about the value of youth music education and making it accessible and affordable to youth in the Albany community. The immense growth of enrollment since its first class in 2007 is a testament to its value in the community. Nancy is excited about the program's growth and the development of budding musicians all over the Albany area. Nancy also plays cello!
Julie Buchert retired after teaching 30+ years of Elementary, Middle, and High School band and choir, social studies, reading and literature. Julie was also an accompanist and choir director with the Heart of the Valley Children's Choir for about 20 years. Julie joined the AYO board in 2022. Julie is the assistant director and also on t
Julie Buchert retired after teaching 30+ years of Elementary, Middle, and High School band and choir, social studies, reading and literature. Julie was also an accompanist and choir director with the Heart of the Valley Children's Choir for about 20 years. Julie joined the AYO board in 2022. Julie is the assistant director and also on the board of the Willamette Valley Concert Band and has performed with the group since 1998. She's been very active with many music groups in the Mid-Valley for many years. Julie lives in Albany with her husband, Jeff. Julie and Jeff are parents to Carrie (Eric French, Elliot) and Conner (Jennette Buchert, Mila) and enjoy spending time with their beautiful grand children.
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.
Matt joined our board in 2022.
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.
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.
Jerry joined our board in 2022. He is a new resident of Albany having lived in the Portland area since 1975. A Music Education (Choral Performance) graduate of Western Washington University; he has continued to enjoy choral singing, most recently with the Festival Chorale Oregon. Jerry was a founding board member and Treasurer of Novum Ca
Jerry joined our board in 2022. He is a new resident of Albany having lived in the Portland area since 1975. A Music Education (Choral Performance) graduate of Western Washington University; he has continued to enjoy choral singing, most recently with the Festival Chorale Oregon. Jerry was a founding board member and Treasurer of Novum Cantorum a classical choral group in Portland and served on the board and as a singer for almost 20 years. Jerry enjoys volunteering and supporting community music and cultural organizations.
I joined in 2023 after volunteering at the spring event and decided I wanted to get more involved with the organization! I believe giving kids a chance to play an instrument regardless of their situation is super important. I also play viola and am currently learning piano!
Haley joined our board in 2023.
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.
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.