Sounds of Proteges

The Giving Coast


Music to our ears—the newly established Venice Symphony Youth Orchestra (VSYO) program provides students as young as 8-years-old, the opportunity to fully unearth their untapped musical talents. Debuting at its first official performance this past July at the Summer Music Camp recital, The VSYO program is fervently setting the stage to integrate high-quality instructional classes for students in an ensemble setting, closer to their homes and schools in South Sarasota County. The VSYO currently holds weekly rehearsals at the Venice Performing Arts Center, lead by three of Venice Symphony’s top musicians and educatiors, including instructors Christopher Riley and Donna Smith, assisted by Karen Tuttle for its two performing ensembles:

Concert Strings—for ages 8-14, with two to three year of experience, developing positions, and ready to perform in an ensemble. Symphonic Strings—for ages 14-18, with more than three years of experience and the maturity to participate in a large ensemble. Students must demonstrate solid technique and are developing extended positions.

“The Venice Symphony sees school orchestra programs as an essential foundation for building both ensemble and individual skills in young musicians,” says Sharyn Lonsdale, Director of Marketing. “The Youth Orchestra is designed to be a high-quality supplemental ensemble for students to continue their musical instruction beyond the school day. Many of these students have already declared their intention to major in music at the college level.”

An 11th grade student in the Symphonic Strings calls The VSYO, “an opportunity to find musicians my age who understand my love for playing music. You create so many great connections that follow you throughout your life, the mentors help prepare us to succeed in the professional world of music and provide a support system that I am so glad to have.”

To support the program's increased educational opportunities and performances, The Community Foundation of Sarasota County recently provided a $5000 grant. In addition to providing general support, funding from CFSC has allowed The VSYO to also provide scholarships to several students whose families struggled to pay even the discounted tuition. Scholarships are currently available and open auditions are being held on request, if you know a young musician in our area who would be interested in dedicating their time and talent to sharpening their instrumental skills. CFSC will be providing specially-made shirts for all the members to wear at their upcoming engagements:

Symphonic Strings will perform on December 6 at Holiday Splendor at the Ringling Museum of Art’s Ca D’Zan at 5 pm. And on December 8, both the Symphonic Strings and Concert Strings will perform at the Holiday Tree Lighting at Blalock Park in Venice at 5 pm.

The Community Foundation of Sarasota County is proud to partner with SRQ Media Group to highlight stories about community impact powered by philanthropy in our region, thanks to the support of donors and our local nonprofit partners. The Community Foundation is a public charity founded in 1979 by the Southwest Florida Estate Planning Council as a resource for caring individuals and the causes they support, enabling them to make a charitable impact on the community.

Photo courtesy of Sharyn Lonsdale.

Venice Performing Arts Center, One Indian Ave.,Venice, 941- 448-1010.

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