The Billings Youth Orchestra has been renamed the Billings Symphony Youth Orchestra, effective Friday, July 1. 

According to a press release on Thursday, the Billings Symphony acquired the nonprofit after governing boards for both organizations decided to combine in May. This merging allows young musicians to expand their skills and grow their talent in the Montana area. 

“Youth orchestras play an important role in the development of young lives,” said Billings Symphony music director Anne Harrigan. “I am thrilled that the Billings Youth Orchestra will become a part of the Billings Symphony. Together we are poised to make even more of a difference in the lives of the youth of our community.”

For the last 16 years, the Billings Youth Orchestra has flourished, providing opportunities in music for young minds. They have a total of four orchestras: Young artist, Concert, Repertory, and Preludio Strings. The organization also has two ensembles for young musicians, The Montana Fiddle Club and Repertory Winds. Students in these youth orchestral programs develop a deep appreciation for orchestra music. Many students in the program go on to pursue a career in music, performing with professional ensembles and orchestras across the nation. 

Stacey Casterline, the Billings Youth Orchestra Board President, says this merger will create a lasting bond with the most respected orchestra in the Magic City. “Our talented young musicians will benefit from the mentorship of professional musicians and greater opportunity to perform. This union also brings added exposure to all that orchestral music has to offer to the community,” Casterline said.  

All normal operations at the Billings Youth Orchestra will continue while providing opportunities for performance under the Billings Symphony. Billing Youth Orchestra conductors will still lead orchestras and ensembles in the youth program. The Billings Symphony Youth Orchestra concerts are now presented by the Billings Symphony, adding to their annual season. This also includes the Billings Symphony Family Series with concerts on December 4 and April 30, 2023. These concerts are free of charge, and donations for the youth orchestra concerts are encouraged. 

If you have someone in your family wishing to join the Billings Symphony Youth Orchestra or want to learn more, call 406-282-3610. You can also email youthsymphony@billingssymphony.org.