The Vermont Youth Orchestra Association develops young people as artists, citizens, and leaders through the shared pursuit of musical excellence.


To inspire every child to fill our world with music.

Values and Beliefs

Inclusion and Diversity: We believe that making music is an essential human activity and that access to the opportunity to develop musical skills is fundamental to our well-being. Our shared love of music inspires us to welcome all families to join us regardless of background and financial resources.

Excellence and High Standards: We believe music-making is a powerful vehicle for youth to experience individual and collective excellence. Hard work and gaining mastery are recognized and rewarded.

Personal Growth and Teamwork: We believe music-making has the power to transform lives, build self-esteem, enrich self-expression, and create community. In our ensembles, every member has a role to play and contributes to our success. We value each other as colleagues and welcome everyone – parents, friends, music lovers – to be a part of our extended community.

Communications and Transparency: We believe in practicing organizational behavior that celebrates integrity, transparency, and accountability to our students, families, faculty, staff, and board of directors.

Leadership and Service: We believe young people are empowered through their ability to contribute to an ensemble; they develop the capacity to lead. Performing music allows students to develop a sense of service and the self-satisfaction of giving back to the community.

Partnerships and Alliances: We believe in order to achieve our vision we will broaden our reach into the larger community by working with a dynamic range of collaborators including music teachers and organizations, public and private schools, and youth-serving organizations.

About the VYOA

With a mission “to develop young people as artists, citizens, and leaders through the shared pursuit of musical excellence,” the VYOA is committed to providing rewarding musical experiences for students of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. Over 300 students in grades 1 – 12 from across Vermont and neighboring states participate in our three orchestras, strings classes, training programs, community engagement initiatives, and summer camps, making the VYOA our region’s premier youth orchestra program.  All of our students leave the VYOA with a respect for music, for learning, and for the arts, attributes that will enhance and touch their lives in our communities and beyond.

All programs are based at our beautiful home, the Elley-Long Music Center at St. Michael’s College. This season, VYOA orchestras and choruses will give more than 20 performances at the Elley-Long Music Center, the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, and at schools throughout the state.

Music Inspires

The Vermont Youth Orchestra was founded in 1964 by the Burlington Friends of Music with the mission “to do more for music in the schools.” We continue that work today with Music Inspires. Now in its 6th year, Music Inspires is the VYOA’s community engagement program committed to eliminating access barriers to students from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Partnership with area 21C funded after-school programs is at the very heart of the program. Music Inspires provides group lessons, coachings, instruments, school-day performances, and materials at no cost to students and their families or their schools. VYOA ensembles reach nearly 3,000 schoolchildren annually through school-day concerts. This season, the VYO also looks forward to presenting the second concert of Carnegie Hall’s Link Up concert series in partnership with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra and the Flynn Center’s School Day Matinee program.