The Hernando Youth Orchestra (HYO) is warming up for another season full of enchanting orchestra performances. The orchestra is composed of gifted young tunesmiths ready to dazzle crowds with their talents and star-quality. This youth orchestra allows the young people of Hernando County to develop and showcase their musical talents. The HYO is a non-profit agency and is currently under the direction of conductor John St. John.
The orchestra costs nothing to join and performs for the community free of charge. This year they’re performing at various community events such as several Homeowners Associations, the Brooksville Town Hall Christmas celebration, Stage West Playhouse, Om Center in Spring Hill, and many more to come! “The HYO provides an opportunity for our community’s youth to play great classical music, gain proficiency in their instrument of choice, and give back to the community through concerts at nursing homes, ALFs, Art in the Park and other similar public venues,” reads information from the Hernando Arts Council.
After taking a self-imposed intermission from performing in the wake of global circumstances, HYO begins a fresh new chorus with an exciting sense of novelty and creativity. The HYO has moved to a new rehearsal site at Christ Lutheran Church, located at 475 North Ave, Brooksville. The orchestra rehearses here on Sunday afternoons from 3 to 4:30 pm in the Krasemann Hall, adjacent to the main church. “They have a huge community hall and family room. It’s the perfect space,” stated Ellen Paul, executive director of the Hernando Youth Orchestra
They continue to perform because of a $825 2022 Community Arts Grant from the Hernando County Arts Council. “We need these funds to buy uniform shirts for students. Also, music is a big expense. We will use the council grant money wisely and well to expand our impact in Hernando County,” said Paul.
Repaying the favor in kind, HYO is set to perform on Sunday, March 13th, from 1:30 – 2:30 pm at the 37th Annual Art In The Park at Tom Von Park. They will host the Hernando Youth Orchestra’s “Touch an Instrument” tent in the children’s experience area. The Art in the Park Facebook page shared, “We are so grateful that the orchestra is returning to let kids experience musical instruments at Art in the Park! They will also perform on the main stage.”
Ellen Paul stated, “This is one of our wonderful opportunities to give the kids the experience of playing music,a chance for talented young musicians to stand up and play. Each performance is a first experience for some.” Paul also feels that the instrument petting zoo will fit in perfectly with the new children’s experience area at Art in the Park. In the interest of health, all instruments will be disinfected and there will be no instruments to blow into this year. The instruments kids will have the chance to play are pianos, shakers, castanets, tambourines, etc.
As the orchestra returns to the stage, they seek to expand their reach in the Hernando community, and they need the community’s aid in order to expand their impact! Ellen Paul stated, “We always need strings for the orchestra. Especially violins and violas, violas are rare. Brass also would be appreciated.” In addition, the orchestra needs players to round out its rhythmic ranks. An orchestra notice stated, “Hernando Youth Orchestra needs interested musicians to play with us, 6 to 60+ yrs old. Play Mozart, the 3 Bs, and more! We rehearse Sunday afternoons at Christ Lutheran Church, 475 North Ave, Brooksville. Students earn community service hours, seniors earn warm fuzzies, and everybody has fun. Join us and register at www.HernandoYouthOrchestra.org or call 352-544-8105.”
Paul encourages everyone to enjoy and hone their love of music through participation in the Hernando Youth Orchestra. They welcome anyone with a love for music and their main goal is to get young kids interested in music and offer the opportunity to play to those who haven’t had a chance to.
Many more of these musicians are needed to fill and define the membership of the HYO. Paul shares that they have 10-12 people in the orchestra, but they need to double in size to be effective. In return, young people will receive the music education of a lifetime in the Hernando Youth Orchestra.
Paul summarized, “Studies show that children who study musical instruments gain 17 percent in academics, do better in math, show more perseverance, discipline and leadership skills. They get positive attention today for a better tomorrow. They learn life skills and academic skills, special skills they can take to college. They can apply these skills to opportunities far beyond just music, although they will be exposed to some incredible music. And they will make this incredible music while gaining understanding of new skills. It’s a win-win-win.”
For more information about the Hernando Youth Orchestra, visit http://www.hernandoyouthorchestra.org/index.html.