Eight OAYO students joined The Piano Guys on the Orpheum stage on September 21, performing “Beethoven’s 5 Secrets” in front of a nearly sold out audience. To quote the review by the Omaha World Herald, “Part way through ‘Beethoven’s Five Secrets’, the video screen showed a symphony orchestra, which we appeared to hear until the spotlight suddenly shone on the actual string player: eight violinists from the Omaha Area Youth Orchestra, who rose sweetly and splendidly to the occasion.”

The Piano Guys are Internet sensations whose videos of their pop covers and classical mashups on YouTube have reached millions of subscribers. Pianist Jon Schmidt and cellist Steve Nelson, who describe themselves as a bunch of dorky dads, just want to make a positive impact in the lives of people through their music videos and live performances.

The staff at OAYO are proud of our musicians and thank The Piano Guys for giving the musicians this opportunity to perform with them on the Orpheum Stage.

Above photo courtesy of Omaha Performing Arts.


Welcome to the improved and re-imagined website for the Omaha Area Youth Orchestras. Please browse and discover the new format, offerings and functionality of OAYO’s home on the web. New features include:  1. ability to purchase tickets for any concert in the season and print your ticket at home, 2. capacity to see more pictures, read OAYO musician stories and navigate quickly to essential material for your schedule. Huge thank you to the leaders in this project: Savannah Hunter, Tom Yaroch, Megan Gehle and the OAYO administrative staff. Enjoy!

The OAYO gratefully thanks the Yahoo Employee Foundation for their support of the In-School Music Enrichment Program (ISME) for the 2016-17 season.

In the 2015-16 season, ISME provided professional music instruction and coaching in 7 Iowa and Nebraska school districts, 49 schools with 71 visits with more than 142 hours of instruction to over 3,000 band and orchestra musicians.

No music teacher, school or student is charged for the ISME program. Providing the enrichment, at the request of the teachers, is key to the OAYO mission and commitment to supporting our youth and schools.

The annual Youth Symphony Retreat took place on the August 27th weekend. It is a two-day, weekend-long event where YS musicians spend the weekend at Camp Carol Joy Holling rehearsing and bonding. Musicians rehearsed with Guest Conductor, Jeffrey Domoto, who recently concluded his tenure as Music Director of the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association, one of the ten largest independent youth orchestras in the United States. As conductor of the VYO, he led performances with a wide variety of repertoire and led tours to Iceland, Germany, and the Czech Republic. Along with rehearsals, musicians participated in breakout sessions on instrument repair, Injury prevention, music therapy, and Youth Composes. This retreat is often looked back on as one of the best experiences our students have in OAYO, and this year was no different.

OAYO Senior Scholarship Jackson BrownJackson Brown, a 3 year OAYO member, has been named the 2015-2016 Deborah L. Gilmore Memorial Scholarship Recipient. Throughout Jackson Brown’s high school career, he participated in OAYO, Chamber Ensembles, School Music Groups, All State, and College Honor Bands. In the fall of 2016, Jackson will be attending St. Olaf College to major in Clarinet Performance, where he hopes to be a Concerto Competition Winner in a few years and to eventually play for a major orchestra. Jackson’s love of music and OAYO is obvious when he discusses the role of instruments in an orchestra or the feeling of playing Shostakovitch 5 his senior year in OAYO. “OAYO has helped me see a different way of thinking, but it has also helped me find music in a sense. Growing up, I didn’t really listen to music because I always found better things to do. OAYO helped me find this lost gem in my life and formulate it into my life, and I can’t stop listening to it or playing it or studying it. It has helped me figure out who I am and what I love in life.”


OAYO Senior Scholarship Ann Marie SchubertAnnemarie Schubert, a 3 year OAYO member, has been named the 2015-2016 James W. Kirkpatrick Award for Outstanding Achievement Recipient. Not only has she been actively involved in her music community, but she has soared in Academics as a National Merit Finalist and a Presidential Scholar Candidate. In the fall of 2016, Annemarie Schubert will be attending Oberlin College to major in Violin Performance and Biochemistry, eventually pursuing a role in a professional orchestra or as a Neuroscientist studying Music and the Brain. “The Musicians I have met have been an amazing influence on my life, and have taught me so many skills and shown me who I want to be in life. Aviva and OAYO has provided me with so many opportunities and I will be forever thankful.”

Those of you in OAYO last year may remember we charged a $60 program book fee which helped to offset the cost of printing the program book. We are currently doing an analysis on this fee and deciding if a fundraiser or a ticket-selling requirement would be a better use of your time as well as more in line with the mission of the organization. We will keep you posted on this and are welcome to your suggestions.

OAYO’s first concert of the season is October 20th at the UNO Strauss Performing Arts Center, featuring OAYO Chamber Ensembles. Experience UNO’s International Concert and get a sneak peak at the extraordinary talent of our musicians. Our four Audition-based Orchestras (YCS, YCO, YP, and YS) will dazzle audiences at our All-Orchestra Concert at the Holland Performing Arts Center on October 30th at 6:30pm. Please check the concerts calendar for more information on this season’s events.