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SLO Symphony youth programs grow 

Organization hires new Musical Education Director, readies for a summer tour in Alaska


Students from Preparatory Strings, a string orchestra experience for musicians who have played two years or more.

–The San Luis Obispo Youth Symphony, in its 52nd year in the community, and its Music Education programs have grown significantly this season. The Youth Symphony has 200 active members in five different programs, the most at any one time in the history of the group, and its Strings in Schools program currently has 83 3rd through 6th grade students engaged in after school group string instruction. The programs are lead by recently hired Music Education Director Mi Young Shin and continuing Youth Symphony Manager Brett Malta.

The Youth Symphony sold out its first concert in December 2015, entertaining 600 audience members. They have two remaining season concerts at the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center on Saturday, Feb. 28 and Saturday, May 15 at 4 p.m. Tickets cost is $15 for adults, $5 for students and can be purchased at The Youth Symphony Concert Orchestra will also embark on a summer tour of Alaska in June to collaborate with students from Anchorage and Kenai.

“We’re extremely excited about the growth and direction of the Youth Symphony and Strings in the Schools programs,” said San Luis Obispo General Manager Francie Levy. “We will continue to bring our mission to the community and engage in bringing high-quality orchestra and ensemble education and performance opportunities for local youth. Music education and appreciation is so important to a child’s growth.”

To accommodate the various levels of musical experience, the Youth Symphony is comprised of five ensembles with students in 3rd through 12th grade. Super Bows! is a program designed for students who have completed one year of the Strings in the Schools program or private lessons. Preparatory Strings is a string orchestra experience for musicians who have played two years or more. Symphonic Winds is an ensemble of intermediate and advanced woodwind, brass and percussion musicians. Academy Strings Orchestra is made up of intermediate students with three or more years of violin, viola, cello or bass. The Concert Orchestra includes students from the 7th to 12th grade; they are the most advanced string, woodwind, brass and percussion players.

About Mi Young Shin

Mi Young Shin began her musical journey after hearing a solo performance of Kyung-wha Chung on national television. She said she knew instantly that she wanted to be a violinist. From that initial inspirational moment, she started her learning by way of an elementary school music program. Many individuals played a crucial role in her journey of success, from her teachers to her mother to the many orchestra parents behind the scene. She took their dedication and now passes the gift of music and the love of learning through her position as music education director with the symphony. In a short time, Mi Young has strengthened programs by adding new schools to Strings in the Schools and by providing tangible support to the youth symphony conductors and SIS teachers through clinics and training opportunities.

About Brett Malta

Brett Malta began his musical studies at age five with piano and then began learning brass instruments when he started band in 6th grade. He eventually settled on tenor and bass trombones at the end of high school. Malta studied music and graduated from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo in 2014, with his primary teachers being Sonny Galvan and Roy Main. He manages the operations of the youth symphony and the music van that reaches out to local schools. Malta is a local freelance low brass player and plays sousaphone in Brass Mash, a New Orleans style brass band.

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The news staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote or edited this story from local contributors and press releases. The news staff can be reached at