About Us – PYO History & Current Events
The Peninsula Youth Orchestra, Inc. was founded in 1960 as a youth string orchestra under the direction of Elizabeth Chapman to provide a high quality musical experience to dedicated young musicians of the Virginia Peninsula.
In the mid to late sixties, it was time to expand and enrich the student’s musical experience; the PYO became a full symphony. The necessary woodwind, brass and percussion players were added, Ronald Marshall came on board to join Elizabeth Chapman as co-conductor and the organization changed the name to the Peninsula Youth Orchestra.
Today The PYO, in partnership with SoundScapes has expanded to four groups. The Symphony Orchestra is a full orchestra (strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion) of accomplished high school and middle school aged musicians. They rehearse and perform symphonic works of the highest quality.
The Sinfonia is a string orchestra for younger or less experienced players with the goal of preparing them for membership in the upper-level full orchestra. The Wind Ensemble is for younger or less experienced players (wind, brass, percussion) with the goal of also preparing them for membership in the upper-level full orchestra. The Pro Arte Ensemble is an auditioned chamber group that performs for select social functions and special events.
Membership in the PYO Symphony Orchestra,, Sinfonia, and Wind Ensemble are open by audition. All young musicians are welcome and encouraged to audition (including home school), college students, and young adults up to age twenty-five.