Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra to host open house Feb. 20

Opportunity for behind-the-scenes look at 2021 Youth Symphony of the Year

The Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra is inviting interested student musicians to attend the annual open house on Sunday, Feb. 20.

The EYSO, led by artistic director Matthew Sheppard, has opportunities for instrumentalists in fourth grade through college.

Held in conjunction with Sunday rehearsals, the open house allows students and families to become acquainted with the EYSO education and performance experience.

It will be 3:30 to 7 p.m. at the Elgin Community College Arts Center, 1700 Spartan Drive.

Student musicians, playing their instruments from two years to 12, can find a place to grow in one of six large ensembles, three small ensembles, and over 20 chamber music groups.

For 46 years, the EYSO has been preparing students for a lifelong journey of inquiry, creativity, and growth.

Through rigorous methods of inquiry and "expert noticing," the EYSO offers not only unparalleled performance opportunities but also a comprehensive learning environment.

The Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra, one of the premier youth orchestras in the state, was named the 2021 Illinois Youth Orchestra of the Year by the Illinois Council of Orchestras.

It has nearly 300 students from 70 communities in Kane, DuPage, DeKalb, Lake, McHenry, Kendall, Will, Cook, and LaSalle counties.

Open house registration is suggested, but not required. Drop-ins are welcome.

Interested students and families can visit to plan their schedule for the day and to register.

Students who cannot attend the Feb. 20 open house may email to arrange to visit a rehearsal on another Sunday or attend a second open house scheduled for April 10, from 3:30 to 7 p.m. at the ECC Arts Center.

In addition, local school band and orchestra teachers may schedule a free, live, or virtual interactive presentation by artistic director Matthew Sheppard and a group of chamber music musicians so their students can experience EYSO's methods of inquiry and "expert noticing."

EYSO is now accepting audition applications for the 2022-23 season. Auditions will be held Thursday to Sunday, May 26-29, at Elgin Community College. Students may explore the audition process, learn about audition requirements, and sign up to audition at The EYSO is one of five ECC In-Resident Ensembles offering quality programs for young artists.

The Youth Symphony, EYSO's flagship orchestra for very advanced high school and college-age students, draws members from a wide geographic area. Courtesy of Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra

The theme of the EYSO's 46th season is "Flipped," with a mission to shake things up: to seek out new perspectives, and to glean new insights from different points of view. The season began in November with concerts with the theme, "Negative Spaces." It continues next month with "For Every Action" concerts at 2, 4:30 and 7 p.m. Sunday, March 13 at the Elgin Community College Arts Center.

The season concludes with "Through the Looking Glass" on Sunday, May 8, with three performances.

To purchase tickets, visit or call the box office at (847) 622-0300. Livestream tickets will be sold at

The EYSO's mission is to create a community of young musicians, enriching their lives and the lives of their families, schools, communities, and beyond, through the study and performance of excellent music.

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