The Vermont Youth Orchestra Association develops young people as artists, citizens, and leaders through the joyful 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.

Teamwork and Personal Growth: 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.

Ethics: 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.

Community Partnerships: 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

For over 50 years the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association (VYOA) has been a leader in shaping our region’s young musicians. This season, over 300 musicians in grades 1 – 12 represent 60 elementary, middle, and high schools and hail from 41 towns from across Vermont and neighboring states. With a keen focus on children of all ages, the VYOA offers a wide range of programming; this includes three orchestras, three training programs for beginning to intermediate strings, winds, and brass students, a percussion ensemble, a private lesson program, school partnerships and community initiatives, summer camps, and an early childhood concert series. You can hear VYOA musicians of all ages perform over 20 concerts, recitals, and community engagement presentations throughout the 2019-2020 season.

All programs are based at the Elley-Long Music Center at St. Michael’s College. The Elley-Long Music Center is the former Cavalry Riding or Drill Hall located at Fort Ethan Allen and was renovated by the VYOA between 1999 and 2001. This beautiful building is the home of the VYOA and the primary rehearsal and concert venue for many northern Vermont performing arts organizations.   

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. Established in 2012, 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, coaching, 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.