in partnership
SYSO Thumbnail.JPG
SYSO Thumbnail.JPG

Young Musicians on the Big Stage: Meet Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra

“I love paying the Oboe." Donovan Bown says. "I started because it was the only instrument we didn’t have in the school orchestra and in 10th grade I decided this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I think its the greatest sound in the whole world.”

Donovan is a high school senior and a member of Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra. SYSO for short.

Kathleen is SYSO's Executive Director and says “Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras is on of the Largest Youth Symphony Orchestras in the Country serving over 1800 Students, this includes 5 levels of orchestras(we help) bolster school music programs.”

A lucky and very talented few of SYSO's members, like Donovan, make it to the top tier group. Kathleen says, “these are students who have been playing since they were 6 or seven years old and one of the big honors of being in the top group is playing with Seattle Symphony.”

“It’s a little glimpse into the world of what playing in a real orchestra will be like” Donovan says.

Seattle Symphony musicians say they take great pride in helping SYSO students improve. Mary Lynch is Seattle Symphony's principal oboist and Donovan's instructor .

“It’s a very demanding instrument.” Mary says, “Donovan is an exemplary student and he’s been studying with me for a year or so. Its been gratifying and rewarding for me as a teacher... (for Donovan) to go from someone who is struggling to someone who comes into a lesson and performs a piece of music and I hear him. I hear his voice. He plays in his own way and I don’t have to tell him anymore. Its obvious growth and that’s great!”

Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra has several concerts a year and relies on donations to stay in operation. To learn or donate, click here.