“Each week, more than 2,700 children pour into the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center for First Stage and Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra classes, rehearsals and performances,” writes Jim Higgins in Sunday’s (5/13) Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The center was “jointly created by MYSO and First Stage … in 2005…. Whether rehearsing for a future show or simply learning how to carry their instruments safely, students build those artistic muscles at the youth arts center…. The [MYSO] Progressions string orchestra [is] made up largely of third- and fourth-graders…. About 95% are children of color. Their families pay only $50 a year for private and group instruction. [At a recent Progressions concert for district students] … selections are short and simple, including the ‘Joy’ theme from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. The Progressions third-graders had never touched these instruments before the beginning of this school year. Narrator and MYSO community liaison Kate Goerdt fields questions from the student audience…. How long did it take to practice all of the songs? ‘It took us 1 year and 8 months to practice all of the songs,’ says cellist Simone Ribares.” Also included are reports from classrooms of First Stage Theater Academy and Template, the MYSO’s jazz sextet. 

Posted May 14, 2018

Pictured: Music Director Mary Pat Michaels leads the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Progressions string ensemble in concert at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center. Photo by Jim Higgins / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel