It’s the start of a new season for the Jacksonville Symphony and that includes the Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestras. We took some time to sit down with Deanna Tham, Principal Conductor of the JSYO and Assistant Conductor for the Jacksonville Symphony, and asked her about the upcoming season.

What is something you want students of all ages to take away from their JSYO experience?
I really want them to learn how music connects people by tapping into our most human feelings and emotions. On the same note, I want them to learn to express those emotions with concrete technique – making the connection between a desired, perhaps intangible product, and tangible steps to make that happen. Understanding the value of non-verbal, ensemble communication is key. Creating music in an orchestra is all about listening and responding to people without having to speak to them. All our students are gaining valuable skills to build their interpersonal relationships no matter what field they choose to pursue beyond JSYO.

What are you most excited about for the season?
I just love introducing students to spectacular pieces of repertoire for the first time and watching them realize how to express themselves and play difficult things that they didn’t know they could do. I’m really excited for the side-by-side opportunities. It’s fascinating to watch professional mentors reveal their secrets to the younger generation of musicians.

What was one of the most impactful things you learned while involved in youth orchestra?
That kids can do anything. The bounds of their capability never ceases to amaze me, particularly if you watch a kid not remember to bring his instrument to rehearsal, but then pull out a beautifully crafted, sensitively structured phrase.

What is something that makes the JSYO unique?
The entire Jacksonville Symphony family is incredibly supportive of the JSYO. We have so many resources at our fingertips that I intend to fully take advantage of. We can really offer a well-rounded view and experience as it pertains to the world of classical music – performance and otherwise. Furthermore, with the expertise of our symphony musicians and staff, we are really poised to deeply develop the ensemble skills, communicative skills and depth of emotional capacity for our students. That’s something that is greatly enhanced when working with a stellar orchestra.