The spring season of the New River Youth Symphony & Chorus will begin on Monday, March 2, at Oak Hill High School.

Auditions for new Chorus students will be at 5:30 pm, with Emerging Strings, Beginner Chorus, and Youth Chorus rehearsal to follow at 5:45; auditions for new Symphony students will be at 6 p.m., with Symphony rehearsal to follow at 7 p.m.

Auditions are open for new students for the first three Mondays of the season. Students from all over Southern West Virginia find singing in the chorus or beginner chorus and/or playing in the symphony or Emerging Strings a wonderful chance to improve their musical skills and make new friends.

The Beginner Chorus, under the direction of Kathie Kiser, serves five- to 10-year-old students. This group helps children to focus, understand rhythms, and match pitch. Kiser and her team use sign language, puppets, and games to develop the children's ability to enjoy music. The Beginner Chorus is a great place for young singers to learn how to sing together and be prepared to perform in front of an audience.

The Youth Chorus enjoys a wide variety of music that is fun to sing — folk songs, classical songs, holiday songs, and artsy songs. Chorus is an excellent place for students, ages 10-24, to develop their vocal technique and to experience the camaraderie of a group who enjoy performing together. The New River Youth Chorus is conducted by Pam Shrader.

The Emerging Strings is a new performing group for beginner-level students playing a variety of string instruments — violin, viola, cello, bass. Christina Bailey and Perri Kiser gently lead their students in how to perform easy, yet lively and fun, arrangements for string orchestra.

The conductor of the New River Youth Symphony since its inception is William Bailey; he likes to make the rehearsals fun and the concerts entertaining. The symphony performs concert literature from the great composers, as well as the occasional jazz piece and holiday favorites. Since this is a full orchestra, woodwinds, brass, and concert percussion students are welcome, as well as those who play violin, viola, cello, or bass. Symphony is for students, ages 8-24.

NRYSC has been serving young musicians in Southern West Virginia since June 2006. It began as a grassroots, parent/student effort to provide a unique instrumental and vocal ensemble opportunity to young people with a desire to grow as musicians. The students are a mixture of public school, private school, and home-schooled students from various counties in Southern West Virginia. They all share a love of music and performing together.

Financial support from the Beckley Area Foundation, the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, the Governor's Community Participation Project, the Fayette County Commission, the Town of Fayetteville, and Southern West Virginia businesses and individuals has been used to purchase instruments and equipment, as well as to provide scholarships for the student musicians.

Anyone interested in joining NRYSC should go to the website at or call Kathie Kiser, president, at 304-619-5971, for more information.

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