Winner of the 2015 Youth Orchestra of the Year


The Canton Youth Symphony conducted by Rachel Waddell, has been selected by the Classics Alive Foundation as this year’s  Youth Orchestra of the Year for 2015! They will receive a $500 cash award as well as a Residency Program run by violinist Lindsay Deutsch.

The Canton Youth Symphony offers aspiring young musicians a professional learning environment focused on the highest artistic standards. The CYS provides young musicians with exceptional musical training and opportunities as well as an outlet for musical expression, growth, and exploration in a challenging and nurturing environment. Its participants rehearse weekly in preparation for three concerts annually, and students have the opportunity to work closely with Canton Symphony Orchestra musicians and guest artists.


Assistant Conductor of the Canton Symphony Orchestra, Ms. Waddell also serves as the music director and conductor of the Canton Youth Symphony, which has substantially grown in the last two years under her direction. The CYS now attracts northeastern Ohio's top young musicians, performing such major orchestral literature as Brahms' Academic Festival Overture, Beethoven's Symphony No. 5, and Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade




What the students had to say about their orchestra:

Working with Ms. Waddell has been a wonderful experience.  She always expects us to play at our highest level and beyond while supporting us with genuine care and humor. - Helena

My favorite part of being in the Canton Youth Symphony is the challenging music and the great belief of the conductor of what we can do! - Tony

My time with the CYS will always stay with me. I have learned so much about my instrument, the music itself, how to portray music correctly, and being in a team; helping create something beautiful. - Eva

The orchestra has played side by side with the Canton Symphony which provided us a great opportunity to learn from professional musicians. - Becky

Miss Waddell picks challenging repertoire that I thought I could never play, but she proved to me that I am capable of performing it - giving me a great sense of accomplishment. - Julie

I have learned many skills in CYS beyond music - including responsibility, self-discipline, commitment, and follow through. - Noah

My favorite part of being in this orchestra is their ability to always find a way to raise the bar of achievement higher and higher. It is an environment of constantly evolving challenge, to make better music, both artistically and technically. In this orchestra, we never believe that anything is unreachable-- we simply know that sometimes it takes a longer bridge to pass to the next step. - Caitlin

We also heard from Chris, Jenna, Vanessa, Klaire, Madi saying very good things about the Canton Youth Symphony.

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See past winners