Chautauqua Regional Youth Sympony
Chautauqua Regional Youth Symphony
Music Director - Bryan Eckenrode
The Chautauqua Regional Youth Symphony (CRYS) was established in 1988 to provide quality classical music education and performance opportunities to young musicians and to add to the cultural offerings of our area.
Acclaimed performer and conductor Bryan Eckenrode has been CRYS’s conductor and music director since 2003. Prelude Strings and Young Artists Orchestra were formed under his leadership.
Prelude Strings is the orchestra for beginning string players, primarily middle schoolers. The Young Artists Orchestra (YAO) includes players of orchestral instruments at NYSSMA level III or IV and above, primarily upper middle and high school students. The most advanced orchestra, formerly the Youth Symphony, is now the String Chamber Orchestra, exclusively for string players in high school and college. Students who study another instrument as well as a string can play in both YAO and the String Chamber Orchestra.
All three orchestras begin rehearsals in January preparing for the traditional Spring Gala Concert in early May. Prelude Strings rehearses on Friday afternoons at Christ First United Methodist Church, while the Young Artists and String Chamber Orchestras rehearse on Saturdays at the Reg Lenna Center for The Arts.
In recent years CRYS students and chaperones have traveled to hear concerts by professional orchestras, when possible meeting with some of the performers beforehand. Opportunities have included hearing the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra accompany a screening of The Wizard of Oz and “Bugs Bunny at the Symphony” and the Rochester Philharmonic accompany the Peking Acrobats and present “Star Wars and More: The Best of John Williams.”