About Us

Mankato Area Youth Ensembles

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.

NorthStar Strings

NorthStar Strings (NSS) is an introductory orchestra for students and prepares them for YP. The goal of this ensemble is to introduce students to ensemble playing and help develop note reading. Students in this orchestra will have been playing for 1-3 years in lessons. These students will typically be in the end of Suzuki book 1 or book 2 or they're equivalent. Piece difficulty will be in the 1-2 range. NSS is open to all students interested in playing a stringed instrument in an ensemble and any student who is interested is encouraged to audition. All students are accepted into this program. NSS is directed by Mark Wamma and meets in the Performing Arts Center on the campus of MSU. All students are accepted into this program.

Youth Philharmonic

Youth Philharmonic (YP) is the preparatory orchestra for the Symphony Orchestra. YP students should expect to see challenging key signatures (up to 4 flats/sharps), challenging rhythms, and shift into higher positions. These students will typically be in Suzuki books 3-5 or the equivalent and have been playing for 3-6 years. Piece difficulty will be in the 2-4 range. YP is directed by Mark Wamma and meets in the Performing Arts Center on the campus of MSU.

Youth Symphony Orchestra

The Youth Symphony Orchestra is our most advance orchestra offering. These students will typically be in Suzuki books 5 and above and piece difficulty will be in the 4 and above range. Think college level music. Youth Symphony Orchestra is directed by Dr. Joseph Rodgers and meets in the Performing Arts Center on the campus of MSU.

Youth Wind Ensemble in Partnership with River Valley Winds Ensemble

The Youth Wind Ensemble (YWE) is designed to provide an additional offering for brass, woodwinds, string bass, piano, harp and percussion players ages 14 and up. YWE is directed by Dr. Amy Rosium Foley and meets in the Performing Arts Center on the campus of MSU.

Where are rehearsals?

MAYSO rehearses on the campus of Minnesota State University, Mankato, in the Performing Arts Center, in the basement in the band room. The building is located on the northeast corner of campus, off of Birchwwod Street. There is a parking lot right next to the building that can be used on Saturdays. The band room is on the lower level on the east side of the building. Use the eastern door on the north side of the building and go downstairs.

Tuition Fees for 2018-19

MAYSO and NSS is partially funded through tuition fees. This covers approximately 37% of the annual budget of the organization. Scholarships are available for students who might be prevented from participating due to fees, click here to apply for a scholarship.

MAYSO tuition: $360

YP tuition: $260

NSS tuition: $160

YWE tuition: $250 for non-YSO/YP/NSS members and $100 for current members of YSO/YP/NSS

Tuition is based on one year of membership. For one semester, it would be half the cost as listed above. Fundraising is available to all students and funds earned go directly towards students accounts to lower cost of tuition. All students are asked to volunteer and hours are based on your group with no more than four hours total required.