Billings Symphony Orchestra and Billings Youth Orchestra join forces | Local News
The Billings Symphony will acquire the Billings Youth Orchestra (BYO) effective July 1, 2022, renaming the nonprofit Billings Symphony Youth Orchestra. The boards of both groups voted unanimously in May to combine the two organizations, a move that will secure orchestral opportunities for generations of young musicians in the Montana area, from kindergarten through college age.
“We are fortunate in Billings to have the Billings Youth Orchestra which has impacted the lives of young musicians since 2006,” said Anne Harrigan, Music Director of the Billings Symphony Orchestra. “Youth orchestras play an important role in the development of young people’s lives. I am delighted that the Billings Youth Orchestra is part of the Billings Symphony Orchestra. Together, we are ready to make even more of a difference in the lives of young people in our community.
Since its founding by the Kirk family with the support of parents and educators, BYO has offered young musicians an opportunity for growth through training and performance at the highest level in four different orchestras: Preludio, Concert, Young Artist and Directory.
People also read…
“BYO is now well positioned to take the next step in its evolution as the Billings Symphony Youth Orchestra, forming an enduring bond with a highly respected professional orchestral organization,” said Stacey Casterline, Chair of BYO’s Board of Directors. “Our talented young musicians will benefit from the mentorship of professional musicians and greater opportunities to perform. This union also brings additional exposure to all that orchestral music has to offer the community.
In youth orchestra programs, students develop an enduring love of orchestral music, and many have gone on to perform in professional orchestras and ensembles across the country. Several students who have completed the Youth Orchestra Program have also completed internships with the Billings Symphony Orchestra, including BYO founding members David Kirk, Nicole Ficek and Rosie Weiss.
“BYO provided another stage for them to pursue their musical studies and performance opportunities,” said Lisa Bollman, violinist and librarian of the Billings Symphony, who also helped found the organization.
Over the years, BYO has grown to include four orchestras: Preludio Strings, Concert, Young Artists and Repertory, as well as several ensembles including Repertory Winds and the Montana Fiddle Club. All operations will remain intact and performance opportunities will thrive under the Billings Symphony. The organization’s four professional conductors, all of whom are Billings Symphony musicians, will continue to lead the orchestras and ensembles.
The Billings Symphony Youth Orchestra concerts will be presented by the Billings Symphony as part of their annual season, including concerts on December 4 and April 30, 2023, both at Lockwood Performing Arts Center. These concerts are part of the new Billings Symphony Family series, sponsored by Kampgrounds of America, Inc., and offered free to the community. Donations are encouraged for youth orchestra concerts.
Each year, the Billings Symphony Orchestra helps introduce thousands of children and young adults to classical music through Explore Music!, education and community engagement programs offered free to participants.
For Maestra Harrigan, playing in a youth orchestra was instrumental in her musical development. “It was the youth orchestra experience that inspired me to pursue a career in music,” she said. “It really expands your perception and view of the world.”
The Billings Symphony Orchestra has launched a nationwide search for a Youth Orchestra Director who will coordinate all facets of the Youth Orchestra going forward. Job details are online at billingssymphony.org/employment.
For more information about the Billings Symphony Youth Orchestra, including how to register, tuition, and the upcoming season schedule, email [email protected] or call (406) 252-3610 .