Bay Youth Orchestras of Virginia
Quarterly Newsletter

In this issue...
Letters to Teachers
Guest Conductors
Mentoring Program
BYOI Night at Bay Youth!
BYOV Memories

November,  2012


BYO Logo Shadow
Bay Youth Orchestras of Virginia
2012-2013 Season:
"Honoring Music Educators"
Dear Bay Youth supporter, 

As we work our way through our 2012-2013 season, many exciting things are in the works at Bay Youth.  First and foremost is our first concert!  November 20, 2012, 7 pm at Regent University;  our Symphony, Concert and String Orchestras will be performing works by Shostakovich, Dvorak, and Faure. Single tickets are on sale now.  Tickets are $10 adults, $6 students up until the day before the concert, when prices increase to $12 adult, $8 student-  so don't delay-  buy now!  Please write to for tickets, or call 757-618-1800.  You may also purchase tickets through our website at 

Amanda Armstrong
Executive Director
Our Staff:
Amanda Armstrong
Executive Director
Sara Cramer
Orchestra Manager
Helen Martell
Music Director
J. Aaron Hardwick
Conductor, Concert Orchestra
Christina Morton
Conductor, String Orchestra, Junior Strings
Brad Shedd
Assistant Conductor, String Orchestra, Junior Strings
Paula Bonds
Kevin Genus
Stage Manager
Sean Mierchuk
Assistant Stage Manager
David Hughes
Setup Coordinator
Lois Whitlock
Rehearsal Operations Assistant
Lynn Oliver

Our Board of Directors:
Sarah Ford, President
Jeff Phelps, Vice President
Cindy Bryan, Secretary
Marquetta Jones
Brian Smith
Kecia Yeates 
Muriel Evory
Janet Kriner
Martin Barritt
Gold, Silver and Bronze Circle Contributors:
Business Consortium for Arts Support of South Hampton Roads and its members
Virginia Commission for the Arts
National Endowment for the Arts
Norfolk Commission of the Arts and Humanities
Ruth & Scott McElroy
Chesapeake Fine Arts Commission
Loren Evory, Jr.
Muriel & Loren Evory
JoAnn Falletta & Robert Alemany
Jonathan Lichtenstein
Bay Youth Instrument Needs

Have an instrument in the attic?  Consider donating to Bay Youth!  When we perform repertoire that calls for certain instruments, we must rent these, sometimes at great cost.  If you have any of these instruments, please consider a tax-deductible donation to Bay Youth.  You will be helping us provide more financial aid to those who need it, by defraying the cost of instrument rentals.

Our Current Needs:

E Flat Clarinet
English Horn
C Trumpet

Concerto Competition 2012

Our annual Concerto Competition will take place on Saturday, December 15, 2012, beginning at 10 am at the Virginia Arts Festival building.


Join Our Mailing List!
These BYOV members are participating in Senior Regional Orchestra:

Preparatory Orchestra:
Hannah Bookert, Dana Carroll, Addison Hockman, John Holley-Reid, Sophie Jacobson, Madison Tate, Kathryn King, Deric Pearson, Celista Money, Manoa Bell

Chamber Orchestra:
Alyssa Bozak, Hannah Bruening, Yeheun Cho, Taylor Farlin, Natalie Williams, Kevin Hynes, Thomas King

Symphony Orchestra:
Tiani Butts, Kylen Griffith, Sophie Liao, Emily Newton, Anna Phan, Jennifer Seay, Stephen Tang, Ryan Tolentino, Charlotte Van Schenck, Brendan Boylan, Kristen Crook, Josiah Hilerio, Jong Lim, Aresman MacLaren, Katie Magnant, Hannah Whitlock, Juston Goldade, Katie Heltzel, Madeleine Kibbey, Rebecca Walker, Nicole Bruns, Megan Garnache, Tyler James, Kirsten Rowe, Amanda Whitlock, Katie Wilde, Torin Wright, Bradley Blair, Jacob Hughes, James Schlagel, Thomas Keel, Garrett Ott, Samantha Hoster, Emily Barritt, Kurt Stolte, Hosanna High, Nathanael High, Jacob Barritt, Elijah High


Music Education:  Quote of the Month
"During the Gulf War, the few opportunities I had for relaxation I always listened to music, and it brought me great peace of mind. I have shared my love of music with people throughout this world, while listening to the drums and special instruments of the Far East, Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Far North, and all of this started with the music appreciation course that I was taught in a third-grade elementary class in Princeton, New Jersey. What a tragedy it would be if we lived in a world where music was not taught to children."
- General H. Norman Schwarzkopf - United States Army


 BYOV 2012-2013 Season Kicks Off with Letters to our Teachers

Amanda Armstrong 

On Monday, October 8, all Bay Youth students wrote thank-you notes to their favorite music educators.  Each note card contained a list of our concerts for the year with an invitation for them to attend for free. We have received many compliments from these music educators.  They feel welcome and honored to be a part of Bay Youth!  Thanks to all who participated.  Your efforts have made Bay Youth a welcoming environment for those who matter most to us!
BYSO JAF rehearsal
BYSO rehearsal with JoAnn Falletta!
Daniel Myssyk
Guest Conductors to Visit Bay Youth
By Helen Martell
JoAnn Falletta
JoAnn Falletta

 Many of our students are contemplating a career in music and Bay Youth prepares students to be ready for higher level music making. The next step is college and professional work and our guests this November gave our Symphony and Concert Orchestra members a taste of what could be in their future.
We are honored to have two professional conductors work with our Bay Youth students. On November 5, Conductor Daniel Myssyk from Virginia Commonwealth University worked with the Symphony and Concert Orchestra students. Maestra JoAnn Falletta, conductor of the Virginia Symphony helped theSymphony with defining their performance of Shostakovich Symphony No 5. Inspiring, energizing and educating experiences truly help us to grow into better musicians. 
Mentoring Program
 by Helen Martell

This program may plant the seed in some of our students to become music educators. The purpose of this program is to offer students of the Bay Youth Symphony and Concert Orchestra mentorship opportunities of younger players in the organization. Mentor students will attend and play alongside students of the Junior String Orchestra during rehearsals on Monday nights. This is a win-win opportunity for our students - it creates a community within Bay Youth that assists and encourages our youngest musicians while building up older students to be future leaders. The first combined rehearsal took place on November 5 with great success. 


BYOI:  "Bring Your Own Instrument"  Teacher Event
 by Helen Martell

Invite your teacher night December 3, 2012 5:30-9:00.  All music teachers are invited to come and play with Bay Youth for a rehearsal. The orchestras will be starting new music at that time so it would be a perfect opportunity for teachers to join us and help. A specially designed cake will be made for this event by Olivia Shedd. Teachers, I hope you take advantage of this unique opportunity to see the inside workings of Bay Youth and sit side-by-side with your students.

Please send an email to Amanda Armstrong at if you plan to attend. 


Bay Youth Memories By Ryan Fetherer, BYOV alumnus and Orchestra Director, Maury High School

It wasn't all that long ago that students in high school voluntarily participated in programs such as the Virginia Youth Orchestra to gain performance experience and better their musical standing.  I remember coming home from summer work, the days were getting shorter and there was a bite in the air.  When I opened a letter from Mr. Greg Barnes, the director, things changed but given the fact that the he was now moving to the Bay Youth Symphony Orchestras (BYSO) as the director, I had no choice but to spring into action.  Back then, cell phones communications were limited, there was no Face Book, and e-mail was a thing of the future.  So to the landline telephone I went and began writing letters (writing, can you believe that!) to my music friends across the seven cities.  Several days later, there we all were, with Mr. Barnes looking at him as if saying, ok, now here are we, teach us some great music.  
Obviously, I wish that I could go back and live out those days again as my participation helped propel me to my current successes.  Back then as the BYSO principal and co-principal Violist, the experience I gained moved me on to do exactly what I wanted to do  and emulate my director.  I wanted to be able to conduct the way Mr. Barnes did, explain rhythms and nuances so eloquently.  I thrived to have the encyclopedic knowledge that I know he has!
I remember my last concert with Bay Youth Symphony Orchestra and several of us (most of who still communicate with each other, thanks to Facebook).  We performed the Mendelssohn Octet and we were coached by the one and only Ms. Kriner.  Shaking from the moment Joanne Yun started to play and as the melody was being passed around it was my turn then, my best friends turn.  I remember looking at James Mobley and thinking this is it but was not sad (probably missed a few notes in there somewhere).  I was excited for the future, my musical future.  
After leaving Virginia Beach and heading to eastern North Carolina and East Carolina University, it took some time to transition - better known as learning how to practice and study without your parents nagging you.  In high school, my grades were anything but stellar, unless, it involved music but now I was in the big leagues.  Like my father said in a note to me, (yes, we actually wrote letters back then) you are now the little fish in the big pond.  Nobody likes it when their parents say things that are right, but as always, he was.  My first semester at ECU, I nailed my classes...3.8 GPA, with one B in Pyschology and each semester only got better from there.  My first performance jury was a mess as I was so nervous (probably from a lack of confidence).  The night before, I spent 12 hours in the practice room until wee hours in the morning only for the cello professor to walk in and say "that was a great a minor scale!"  (The truth was, I played A-flat major, or should I say, I tried.)
College flew by so quickly, I had no thoughts of the immediate future.  Was I going to stay in school or go find a job in Pitt County (starting salary back in 1997 was $19,000) where I was given an opportunity to teach in Pitt County alongside my clinical teacher, Mr. Vutsinas (who just happens to be at Grassfield High School now).  That same month, in 1997, I applied for an assistantship at ECU for Music Education and was given the chance but then my whole world changed after returning from a post-graduate trip to Disney World.  I was asked to interview for the position at Maury High School in Norfolk, Virginia.
What I most remember from the Maury Orchestra, was the teacher, Mrs. Barnes.  Her husband was Greg, (déjà vu all over again).  I did not understand why a principal give ME, a wet behind the ears, fresh out of college, never had a teaching job in their life, a once in a life time established, well established position.  My thoughts went negative but I persevered and I interviewed - I had nothing to lose and a lot to gain.  The result?  History speaks for itself as I am now in my 16th year as the Director of Orchestras at Maury High School.
How did I get here?  Was it because of what my parents instilled in me?  Yes, but also I would often stare at Mr. Barnes and Mrs. Barnes, Mr. Aguirre and Ms. Kriner and of course, my private teacher, Mrs. Althoff and just watch them teach us.  They had so much fun!  They really wanted to be there doing what the were doing.  They wanted US to get better and be the best we could.  If it were not for those people and several others, I have no clue what I would be doing at this point in my life.  They are a credit to my success as a musician, teacher, husband and now, father of two.
I received my Masters in Education from Regent University while teaching and I have had the honor to travel throughout the county to guest conduct and adjudicate.  To sum up, one of my favorite conducting workshops was in 2010 in Tennessee.  I was honored to be asked to conduct the 2010 All-Tennessee State Middle School Orchestra.  Why did I love that group so much?  They reminded me that teaching music was supposed to be fun and it was a flash back to my days in BYSO as one of the kids from Tennessee said to me...Mr. Featherer-er-er, I want to be a teacher because you make it look so much fun!  What better a statement to instill pride in your job and push to better successes.
Thank you to BYSO and the countless people who make it work.  You work goes WELL-BEYOND the music on the page and you allow the students to make connections that will last a life time!  Keep going strong BYSO, I am proud of you!
To all my friends from the early 1990's, hope you are well and I would love to get together to perform the Octet again someday.

Ryan E. Featherer


Ornaments BYOV Holiday Ornament Fundraiser 2012

Sale Date November 12, 2012 to December 17, 2012 (Mondays Only)

6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m., Norview High School Lobby

Special Gift Wrapping Options Available!



About Us

Bay Youth Orchestras of Virginia

P.O. Box 10897

Norfolk, VA 23513