a program of The Conservatory of Central Illinois
Champaign-Urbana has supported a youth orchestra since the 1960's when the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Guild first sponsored the Champaign County Youth Orchestra. In 1989, while under the music directorship of Jack Ranney, the orchestra became a program of The Conservatory of Central Illinois. At that time the name was changed to the East Central Illinois Youth Orchestra (ECIYO). Currently under the music directorship of Kevin Kelly, the orchestra rehearses on a weekly basis.
The orchestra is organized to provide an opportunity for students to come together to experience orchestral playing while further developing their skills in music reading, ensemble performance, and overal musicianship. Participation is intended to compliment other ensemble activities in which students might be involved. In addition to the full orchestra, honors chamber ensembles are formed from within the membership and a concerto competition, open to members of the orchestra, is held annually. Membership in the orchestra is by audition. Student membership has represented over 20 area schools from within a radius of 50 miles of Champaign-Urbana. A number of ECIYO alumnae have gone to pursue careers in music and the arts.
The ECIYO has performed outreach concerts in Monticello, Paxton, Villa Gove, Mahomet, Evansville, Indiana and at Eastern Illinois University at Charleston. The group has been selected to participate in the University of Illinois School of Music High School Orchestra Symposium. The orchestra has performed with the Champaign-Urbana Symphony, the Prarie Ensemble, Czech Republic Philharmonic, and in concert with other area youth arts groups such as the Central Illinois Children's Choir, Champaign Ballet Academy, and Bowdacious String Band. In addition members of the orchestra have provided programs for area senior centers, school children, and for the Second Sunday Concerts of WILL-FM. The East Central Illinois Youth Orchestra was named as Youth Orchestra of the Year by the Illinois Council of Orchestras in 1999.
The East Central Illinois Youth Orchestra invites interested young musicians to try out and be an important part of the music scene in our community. Requirements for the audition are available here
The Conservatory of Central Illinois
116 North Chestnut Street, Suite 310
Champaign, Illinois 61820