About Us

About Us

The Mankato Youth Symphony Orchestras, Inc. was organized in 1964 and incorporated in 1966. Mr. James Berg was the organizer and director of the first orchestra. Parents of the orchestra members and other community members made up the organization, which operated under a Board of Directors and an Executive Committee.

The organization raised funds in the community to purchase uniforms for the orchestra members, provide music for the members, and send members to various music camps and workshops. The orchestra ceased to "officially" exist in 1974, due, in part, to the division of the high schools, and also the shortage of musicians to direct the orchestra. From 1974 to 1983 the orchestra meet over the summer to play together as a group and prepare for the coming school year with the local orchestra director. The orchestra "officially" reorganized in 1983 and has been presenting concert seasons ever since.

The Mankato Area Youth Symphony Orchestra association is relatively unique among youth symphonies nationwide, as it is not affiliated with or sponsored by the local semi-professional orchestra, the Mankato Symphony Orchestra.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Mankato Area Youth Symphony Orchestras is to educate young musicians in a professional symphony atmosphere, to give opportunity to perform a wide variety of symphonic music, and to provide a variety of music education formats. It is our purpose to help prepare the young musician for participation in the world of symphonic music, either as a professional musician or as a patron of the arts.

The Mankato Area Youth Symphony Orchestra has been presenting concerts in our communities and teaching students for 54 years.

We now offer several unique opportunities for students to play music including Mankato Area Youth Symphony Orchestra, Youth Philharmonic, North Star Strings, Chamber Orchestra, Youth Wind Ensemble, Summer Orchestra, and Summer Jazz.

Meet Our Directors

Music & Executive Director: David Stordalen

Dave is a 20-year veteran of public school education in North Dakota and Minnesota. Dave is currently pursuing his doctorate in music and substitute teaching in the region. Dave performs as a freelance musician in the region and holds the position of Trombonist in the Armstrong Boulevard Brass Quintet and 2nd Trumpet in the Rock/R & B band “Powerhouse". Dave is a 30-year veteran of the Army National Guard and recently retired as Bandmaster of the 34th Infantry Division “Red Bull” Band in Rosemount, MN.  Dave also serves on the Minnesota Music Educators Association Governing Board as the Music Advocacy Chair.  

Dave directs the Youth Symphony Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble, and Pops Orchestra.

Contact David at info@mayso.net

Music & Operations Director: Mark Wamma

Mark grew up in Mankato and is a MAYSO alum. He is a 2009 graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, MN where he received a B.A. in Music focusing on violin performance. He has had the privilege to study under Peter McGuire, Brian Buckstead, Jonathan Magness, Lara MacLean, and Marilyn Bos.

He is a prolific teacher, teaching students at Bethany Lutheran College, Minnesota State University, Mankato and Martin Luther College; the New Ulm Suzuki School; and his private studio. In addition to teaching and conducting for MAYSO, Mark is an active performer. He is the Assistant Principal Violin 2 for the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra and the Mankato Symphony Orchestra, a substitute player for other regional symphonies, and performs in the Mankato area. Furthermore, Mark is a founding member of the River Valley String Quartet.

Mark directs the North Star Strings, the Youth Philharmonic, Chamber Strings, and Pops Orchestra.

Board of Directors

Board Members

Cindy Gawrych, President

Open, Vice President

Miranda Kelley, Secretary

Will Merrill, Treasurer

Sophie Jakovich

Andrew Westberg

Ex Officio Members

David Stordalen, Executive & Music Director

Mark Wamma, Operations & Music Director

Contact the Board of Directors at board@mayso.net