The Cascade Youth Symphony Orchestras form an organization (the CYSO) that provides a wholesome and stimulating environment for talented and gifted young musicians. An emphasis is placed on creating an atmosphere that encourages, challenges and develops their fullest potential in the art of performance. Participants benefit from a yearlong program designed to nurture their enjoyment of music as well as develop their musical skills and self-confidence. This program consists of a balance of rehearsals, sectional coaching sessions, retreats, and concerts.
The CYSO was founded in 1976 as a youth extension of the adult Cascade Symphony Orchestra, headquartered in Edmonds, Washington. By 1985, when Gerry Jon Marsh took over as Musical Director, the orchestra was operating independently from the Cascade Symphony. The organization grew under Gerry's leadership and in 1986 a second orchestra, the Cascade Junior Symphony, was formed as a preparatory group. However, continued growth and improvement in both orchestras created the need for additional preparatory orchestras. In 1990, the Sinfonette was started for young string players and in 1991 the Wind Sinfonette was formed to complement the Sinfonette, making this beginning group fully capable of orchestral performances, as well as chamber and small ensemble work. Again in 1995, because of the growth in membership and the increase in talent, another orchestra (The Premiere Orchestra) was added. This group provided a transition group for musicians that were beyond the beginning stages but not yet ready for the advanced work now being done by both the Cascade Junior Symphony and the Cascade Youth Symphony. Our latest addition is a Preparatory Strings group to discover and encourage new string players.
The CYSO provides two additional instrumental programs to musicians in the North King and South Snohomish counties. The first is its Summer Sounds program that provides an opportunity to participate in orchestral and small ensemble groups outside of the school year. The second is the CYSO's International Concert Tours program. This program was started in 1990 and is run every three years.