An invitation from McFarland's School Superintendent, a brand new state-of-the-art performing arts center, and the changing picture at the UW all worked together to create an exciting new home where the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras will be in residence this Fall!

The news from UW-Madison started trickling in a little at a time. First, Mills Hall, where WYSO had rehearsed almost every Saturday since the building opened, was scheduled to transform from concert to lecture hall. Then the UW began to reconsider whether pre-college programs should actually share space with university departments. And then, there was the growth of WYSO itself—from one full orchestra to three, plus two string orchestras, a chamber music program, a full array of ensembles, and the community-impact Music Makers.

Meanwhile, twelve minutes away, the town of McFarland opened an amazing 841 seat state-of-the-art performing arts center. And incredibly, the adjacent middle &
high school campus had enough rehearsal space to accommodate the entire WYSO program with room to grow—all of the student musicians, all of the orchestras, and all rehearsing at the same time.

In a unique move of creative placemaking, McFarland School Superintendent Andrew Briddell reached out to WYSO and suggested all of the above opportunities, plus collaboration with the McFarland schools, staff, and community, and the ability to build on the creative history of the town itself.

It was an invitation too good to pass up—in Fall of 2020, the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras will be in residence at the new McFarland Performing Arts Center!

Read more about WYSO's New Home
Meet Dr. Andrew Briddell,
McFarland School Superintendent 
Passionate about music and education, Dr. Andrew Briddell, McFarland School Superintendent, earned a double major in music and English from Indiana University, a Masters degree in Bassoon from Temple University, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from UW-Madison. A talented bassoon player, Briddell played with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and was Music Director of the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Birmingham. What a perfect match for this placemaking collaboration!
The McFarland High School campus offers free parking and easy student drop-off.
In the summer of 1966, Dr. Marvin Rabin arrived in Madison at the invitation of Emmett R. Sarig, UW-Madison Professor of Music and Director of UW- Extension Music Department. Sarig's dream was of an area-wide youth symphony orchestra that could form the foundation of string-development programs in Wisconsin. 

Within weeks of Dr. Rabin's arrival, the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra had its first rehearsal with 83 students.

For the next 54 years, WYSO and the UW-Madison School of Music collaborated on the use of shared spaces and personnel. UW faculty doubled as conductors and Music Directors. WYSO shared the charm of UW's Music Hall, and later, was provided with office space in the Humanities Building.The organization grew from 83 students to over 500, from a single orchestra to three full orchestras, 2 strings orchestras, a chamber music program, a full array of ensembles, and the community-impact WYSO Music Makers. 

Thank you, UW-Madison and the Mead Witter School of Music, for a great beginning!  And WYSO looks forward to many more years of collaboration from just across town!

Spring 2020 Auditions and Seat Reservations
It is Audition time of year at WYSO. To practice social distancing as recommended by the CDC, WYSO will only accept recorded video auditions.
What does this new twist mean to applicants? To begin with, don't miss the new May 31 Deadlines!
Read more about the deadlines for Auditions & Seat Reservations
Senior Spotlight: Molly Fraser
After studying viola for about a year, my parents suggested that I consider joining WYSO, and I reluctantly auditioned the following spring. It turned out to be the best decision I have ever made.
Six years of WYSO has not only afforded me the opportunity to play wonderful repertoire, but it’s given me the confidence to share it with my friends and family. Early in the journey, I was embarrassed to talk about my passion for classical music. I didn’t want to seem different from my country, pop, and indie-rock loving friends.
Read More
The April 24 WYSO WEEKLY TUNE UP will be full of information about our new WYSO Families First Fund—How to donate and what it could mean to families and student musicians. Please watch for this article.

The WYSO Weekly Tune Up is a new weekly newsletter with the goal of connecting our WYSO community with stories taking place across our channels. WYSO Seniors: please submit your Senior Spotlight articles to  Alumni: we would love to know what you are doing. Additional story ideas? Please contact
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