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Published: Friday, 5/2/2003

Junior Youth Orchestra celebrates its 25th year

Elaine Clines practices for the youth orchestra concert. Elaine Clines practices for the youth orchestra concert.
FRASER / BLADE Enlarge

A quarter century of music-making will be celebrated this weekend when the Toledo Junior Youth Orchestra presents its 25th anniversary concert at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle.

The orchestra, which serves children in grades six through nine, debuted in the Peristyle on May 6, 1979, under the batons of five area educators: Jay Spreng, Dorothy Coats, Ben Smar, Robert Hadad, and Michael Miller.

“When we started this group, the Toledo Youth Orchestra was already very successful. We wanted to give the same opportunities to younger students,” Miller said.

The first audition drew some 125 children from 31 area schools; 78 of them were accepted into the orchestra. Today, the orchestra has more than 100 musicians but the membership's geographic range has remained more or less constant. Current members come north from as far as Bowling Green and south from Temperance.

By any measure, the orchestra has been a resounding success.

“The orchestra attracts special students,” said current music director David Oliver.

“We are able to play music that would challenge many high school orchestras,” he said.

Auditions for next season take place May 12 and May 13 at Bowsher High School. Information: 419-385-1637.



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