Sacramento Youth Symphony
Share page
Organization Details


The SYS offers talented and passionate young musicians an opportunity to participate in two full orchestras, three string orchestras, a symphonic wind ensemble, and a harp ensemble. Our Prelude & Vivace Strings Orchestras provides an introduction to the orchestral tradition in an all-strings setting. Our Classic Orchestra is our beginning level orchestra incorporating string, woodwinds, and brass instruments. Next, our Academic String Orchestra gives our intermediate musicians an intensive string orchestra experience, while its companion program, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, is comprised of intermediate level woodwind, brass, and percussion. The Glissando Harp Ensemble provides young harpists an opportunity to learn ensemble skills critical to working with other orchestras and ensembles. Musicians aspire to be accepted into our Premier Orchestra, our top performing orchestra under the direction of Michael Neumann, SYS Artistic Director. Entrance into all of our orchestras is gained by "blind" auditions; musicians audition behind a screen and are placed solely on their skill and playing ability. Each orchestra performs concerts as part of our traditional concert series.
Program Successes
- 100% of SYS musicians attend college and become working members of our community as a result of participation in our programs that build bridges between music and academic subjects, integrate orchestra ethics with appropriate social behavior, and help students build self-discipline, self-expression, and self-belief.
- Artistically, the Sacramento Youth Symphony has provided the Sacramento community with a diverse offering of programming including yearly concerto competitions, our renowned Veteran's Day concerts, Symphony of 1,000 and 2,000, Music of the Holocaust Era, and concerts celebrating the musical traditions of African-Americans, China, India, Azerbaijan, Egypt, and more.
Overture is a free after school orchestra program currently operating at Father Keith B. Kenny School in Oak Park, and Pacific Elementary in South Sacramento. No prior music experience is required and instruments are provided at no charge. Overture classes meet two days a week for two hours after school and include snack, group instruction, performances, and supplemental subjects such as choral training, small group lessons, and homework help. Students start the first day as an ensemble and teachers emphasize rehearsal as a focal point for preparing for regular performances by the orchestra are a core to its success. The only requirements for the students are: a commitment to attend regularly; a practice schedule; and care for the instrument. Parents are required to sign a contract that they will ensure their children practice at home during the week. The Overture site becomes a nucleus for the school community, creating pride, and encouraging community participation.
Program Successes
- Each student involved with Overture rehearses more than 240 hours over the season, not including practice time at home.
- This intensity brings a sense of teamwork, discipline and self-confidence to the student as they begin to self-identify as a musician and someone who can set and reach goals.
- As Overture students boarded a school bus for a recent field trip to see the Simon Bolivar Orchestra perform and visit the UC Berkeley campus. Many Overture students have gone on to play music at the middle school and high school level, and several have been accepted into audition-based orchestras such as the Sacramento Youth Symphony, and the Camellia Juniors Orchestra.