The OYO Experience

We could tell you about the lasting benefits the OYO experience brings to student members, but we’d rather let our OYO alumni tell you themselves.

I feel as though I am leaving OYO with many tools that are not only necessary for musicians but those which can be applied in every aspect of my life. My life has been enriched through the discipline, teamwork, and responsibility I have learned in my years in the program. The memories I made with the fellow musicians in the program were undeniably my favorite part. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity I was given to play music with others who loved it as much as I do.

Amanda Beaune, Violin Performance, Wayne State University

Being a percussionist with the intentions of pursuing a career in music performance, there really was no better “pre-college” playing opportunity than the Oakland Youth Orchestras. The OYO helped me develop stronger musical abilities through regular rehearsals, provided education regarding percussion performance and stage etiquette, promoted a friendly environment, held concerto competitions, and even boosted my self confidence. There was no other opportunity that could have prepared me more for college.

James Holk III, Percussion Performance, Oakland University

Throughout my six years in OYO I grew as a musician and person. The warm, friendly, and welcoming directors and fellow students created the best atmosphere for an introduction into orchestral music. I learned how to be a section musician, both in playing and communication. In my first few years the older students acted as great mentors, and then as a high school junior and senior, roles reversed, and I was able to mentor the younger musicians. OYO taught me how to listen, take constructive criticism, be a team player, and introduced me to my passion of teaching, all things that have helped me endlessly in my career today.

Dr. Stephanie Frye Instructor of Tuba & Euphonium East Tennessee State University

I was inspired, once I’d heard them play and had a chance to talk with them as a way of preparing to find ideas for their piece, to write a piece that would be something they’d love playing now, and remember its performanceas a great experience for years to come, as they grow into their adult selves with loyalty, velocity, courage and vision.
Catherine McMichael, Composer

OYO was family to me. It was a home away from home every Thursday.
Michelle Bacher, Michigan State University

I will cherish the memories of all the friends I come to know and the music repertoire introduced for a lifetime.
Lisa Lachowski, clarinet, Music Education major Michigan State University

I am enormously grateful to OYO—I had been uncertain if there would be any opportunities to play my cello in the United States. I never imagined having an opportunity to play with such a wonderful and welcoming orchestra.
Henrietta Pross, German Exchange student

My favorite memory from OYO, other than all the cool music we got to play, was when Mr. Milicevic spoke to her after the rehearsals. He would give me advice on how to play the solos better as well as complimenting me on my piccolo playing. It was just nice feeling that he took the time to acknowledge me!
Brittany Bissa, flute and piccolo

I highly recommend that other band members take the plunge and experience the wonderful moments of musical interplay in an orchestra.

Hayley Dwire, flute

I came to OYO as a 6th grader, having never played in an orchestra before – let alone having led a section as a concertmaster. I didn’t know what to expect, how to act, or what to do. The conductor was an inspiration and role model and instilled a love and excitement for music that I still carry with me today. He believed in his students 100%. For this I am eternally grateful.
Jordan Broder, music director of NUCLASSICA

OYO introduces you to so many things you just have to have in your repertoire. This helped me a great deal when I got to Eastman. I can honestly say that there would have been no way I would be pursuing a career as a professional musician without OYO.
Patrick Walle, Third Horn, Associate Principal, Nashville Symphony Orchestra, and graduate of the Eastman School of Music

OYO did a lot to prepare me for music school, but more importantly it was incredibly fun.
Rose Bridges, Cello, now studying music composition at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, Baltimore MD

OYO is an opportunity for me to develop my abilities and grow my love for music. It’s an environment where I can master my music with others that care as much as I do about the work we do. I love OYO because I can learn to express myself through music while having fun with others that are just as passionate about the music we play.
Gabby, current Philharmonia member

My best OYO memory is being part of the concerts – being a part of that awesome sound and awesome group.
Rachel Whitmore, Violin, now studying music education at Hope College

OYO was, in many respects, my first step into the wide world of Concert music. Since then, orchestra has provided me with a more elegant, more exquisite style of thinking about the world. OYO was my introduction to a bright new perspective of life, and, for that reason, I am a proud OYO graduate.
Sresht Rengesh, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Class of 2015

I will always remember how much I have learned and grown with Mr. M. over the last four years. I have truly enjoyed his enthusiasm, brilliance, and especially his wonderful analogies.
Dipra, violin

For 42 years, the Oakland Youth Orchestra has provided a priceless experience for students to engage in the arts on a sophisticated level. In addition to increasing their musical skills, students also learn the importance of investing their talents back into the community, and, as a representative of this area, I thank these students for their commitment to making Oakland County a more vibrant place.

Tim Greimel, Michigan House Representative

Thank you for coming to perform for us today. We hardly ever hear classical music….It’s so amazing to hear the talent of these young students! When are you coming back?

Senior Residents after Outreach Recitals