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Youth & Family Program

School Visit
Classroom Visit by violinist, Nancy Kvam

Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre
Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre at Family Concert

Meet the Instruments
Meet the Instruments

The Santa Cruz County Symphony has been deeply committed to music education since the inception of its Youth Education Program in 1966.  Over the years the program has grown, bringing classical music education to larger segments of our community.  The Symphony’s heralded Youth and Family Program today has four components:

Classroom Visits - Accompanied by trained docents, professional musicians from our orchestra visit 4th and 5th grade classrooms throughout the county.  At these visits, students are introduced to the instruments of the orchestra and the concept of a symphonic orchestra.  They also learn about the training and the vocational life of musicians, and are prepared for the experience of a live classical concert. The visits are provided free to participating schools and usually occur in mid-February, two weeks prior to the annual Youth Concerts.

Youth ConcertsEvery year the Symphony provides a set of free morning concerts for 4th and 5th graders at both the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium and Watsonville’s Mello Center for the Performing Arts. Members of the Santa Cruz County Youth Symphony play alongside their professional counterparts, creating the largest philharmonic orchestra on the central coast of California. The event is presented in a highly accessible style, using elements of humor, movement, and audience participation. These concerts are attended by over 4,000 students and their teachers.

Family Concert -  Following the Youth Concerts, the Symphony presents a special matinee concert at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium featuring the combined orchestras.  These lively concerts are designed to be both entertaining and educational for the entire family. The subsidized, low-cost tickets to the event are made possible by the generous support of donors listed below.  Following the concert, there is a 'Meet the Instruments' event where audience members have an opportunity to meet with the musicians and learn more about orchestral instruments.  This special “hands-on” event also allows children to sample a variety of instruments and make music for themselves! Click here to see more information about this season's Family Concert.

Special discounts for youth groups are available. Click here for more details.

Classical Music Classrooms - The Symphony's in-class Music Listening Program makes it possible for elementary school teachers to introduce classical music to their students on a daily basis. Piloted in 2012 with ten teachers in 4 schools, the program was enthusiastically received by students, parents, and teachers, and is expected to grow both within schools and expand to encompass additional schools. Partnering with the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, the goal is to maximize the number of “Classical Music Classrooms” throughout the county. Interested teachers and principals are invited to contact the Symphony office for further information and to learn how they may participate.

For more information on the Youth program, email info@santacruzsymphony.org.


2014 Youth & Family Program Sponsors:

Sigma Alpha of Omega Nu of Santa Cruz

The Upjohn California Fund

Rotary Club of Santa Cruz County


The Santa Cruz County Symphony is a supporter of:

California Alliance for Arts Education