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Omaha Area Youth Orchestras

OAYO Ensembles

We create a musical community that fosters artistry and friendship in an environment that promotes discipline, cooperation and leadership. We prepare our student musicians to become active participants in the arts community and we achieve these goals in partnership with parents, teachers and schools throughout the Greater Omaha-area.

Musicians interested in participating in one of our season-long orchestra ensembles (YS, YP or YCS) audition in April of every year with rehearsals starting in August. Late auditions are accepted throughout the year based on orchestra availability. Contact the OAYO office for more information. Musicians interested in our Prelude String 8-week introductory program only need a recommendation from their music teacher.

OAYO musicians receive:

  • Weekly instruction from one of our OAYO conductors

  • Opportunities to perform at the best venues in Omaha, including the Holland Performing Arts Center

  • Sectional coaching tailored for their instrument from professional musicians and local music educators

  • Instruction from youth orchestra and professional orchestra guests conductors and directors

  • Opportunities for intensive practice and socializing at additional events

  • Weekly coaching and individualized instruction for musicians in the Chamber Music Program

All of OAYO 's ensembles (unless otherwise noted) meet on Sundays at

the University of Nebraska at Omaha's Strauss Performing Arts Center.

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Youth Symphony(YS)

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Youth Symphony performs three concerts per season (August to May). Performances include an annual side-by-side concert with the Omaha Symphony at the Holland Center. YS works regularly with established guest conductors and participates in regular sectionals with members of the Omaha Symphony, UNO and UNL faculty. 

This ensemble performs masterpieces from the standard orchestral repertoire at a high school proficiency level.  

Rehearsals: Sunday afternoons from 1:30 to 4 P.M. at UNO Strauss Performing Arts Center.

Conductor: Aviva Segall

Youth Philharmonic (YP)

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Youth Philharmonic is a full orchestra that participates in two concerts, as well as a side-by-side rehearsal with the Omaha Symphony per season (August to March). Concerts typically include a performance at the Holland Center.

YP performs pieces from the standard orchestral repertoire while refining orchestral techniques. 

YP is open to musicians grades 5th through 12th who demonstrate an expanded set of abilities on his or her instrument.


Rehearsals: Sunday evenings from 4:15 to 6:15 P.M. at UNO Strauss Performing Arts Center.


Conductor: Aviva Segall 

Youth Concert Strings (YCS)

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Youth Concert Strings performs two formal concerts and participates in numerous sectionals with accomplished local musicians, as well as a side-by-side retreat with Youth Symphony members.

YCS performs intermediate orchestral pieces designed to serve as an energetic introduction to OAYO. 

Talented string musicians 3rd through 8th grade.

Rehearsals: Sunday evenings from 4:30 to 6:15 P.M. at UNO Strauss Performing Arts Center.

Conductor: Patricia Ritchie

Chamber Music Program (CME)

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The chamber music program is open to any member of the audition-based orchestras. OAYO chamber music ensembles present a formal concert each season and have the opportunity to perform at concerts and venues outside of the regular OAYO season.


For over thirty years, OAYO's chamber music program has helped develop young musicians into stronger performers. Chamber music is a team effort that requires each musician's personal commitment to their individual parts, as well as the ensemble.


Rehearsals: Times vary depending on musician's orchestra membership.

Director:  Sophia Potter

Prelude Strings (PS)


Over the course of eight weeks, Prelude Strings - the introductory ensemble to OAYO for grades 4 to 7 - will ignite the talents of young musicians from the entire region. Students will rehearse with top professionals to prepare an inspirational concert. 

Register online at under "Prelude Strings Registration". Prelude registration generally opens in September each season and closes for the year in late January.


Rehearsals: Times vary depending on musician's orchestra membership.

Past have included: UNO Strauss Performing Arts Center, Sharon North Jones Studios, and The Kroc Center

Conductor:  Patricia Ritchie

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