In May 1993, a small group of professional musicians and supporters began the Youth Orchestra of Greater Columbus. Their dream was to create an outstanding orchestra program for the area’s most talented young musicians. Through their efforts and the support of the community, their vision is being fulfilled.
Now in its 29th year, the YOGC includes two separate groups, the Youth Orchestra, made up of intermediate and advanced string, brass, wind and percussion musicians and the String Orchestra, composed of young string players. More than 100 students from over 20 area public, private and home schools participate in the combined orchestras. We also introduced a new chamber group program a few years ago to offer our advanced students an opportunity to increase and hone their skills to newer heights.
Mission, Statement, and Goals
To teach young people about music. To provide the opportunity for young instrumentalists to have the highest quality musical experience in an orchestral setting. To foster the discipline necessary to be successful in music, recognizing that this discipline is invaluable in life and other pursuits. To instill a sense of value of the arts as an enrichment in every aspect of life.
Providing an opportunity for young people to learn, perform and enjoy classical music!
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Address: PO Box 8612, Columbus, GA 31908
- Music Director and Conductor: James D. Palmer
- Executive Director:
The Youth Orchestra administrative office is located inside RiverCenter for the Performing Arts. The orchestras rehearse weekly in the Columbus State University Schwob School of Music. We appreciate our relationship with RiverCenter and Columbus State University Schwob School of Music and acknowledge their support. This organization is supported in part by the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. GCA also receives support from its partner agency – the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Board of Directors and staff are committed to offering an appropriate placement to every student who seeks to participate. Over 100 students now join the orchestras, ensembles, and camps each year. The current population consists of students from nine different counties in Georgia and Alabama.
Youth Symphony Orchestra
Under the leadership of Music Director and Conductor James Palmer, the Youth Orchestra presents three major programs each year at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts including educational concerts for Muscogee County public school students. In addition, the YOGC performs at the annual pops concert and luncheon.
Under the direction of Associate Conductor Jessica Bennett-French, the String Orchestra brings together about 40 young string players focused upon individual technique and learning to play as an ensemble. The String Orchestra presents two major concerts each year and performs at the annual pops concert and luncheon.
Chamber Music Program
Students are selected for ensemble groups to include string, brass, and woodwind ensembles. The program runs in two semesters during the year and includes coaching and a spring recital.
Summer String Camp
The Summer String Camp offers string musicians an opportunity to develop their abilities by working closely with some of the area’s finest musicians and educators. This week-long camp is held in June at Columbus State University Schwob School of Music and the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts. Musicians of all levels of skill are welcome. The daily schedule includes sectional and full ensemble rehearsals as well as technique and music theory classes.
The Youth Orchestra’s administrative office is located at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts and the YOGC rehearses weekly on Monday nights at the Schwob School of Music. The Youth Orchestra organization enjoys a special relationship with the RiverCenter and Columbus State University and acknowledges their support.