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Symphony Offers Adventures in Music for Local Youth

Published online: Apr 15, 2024 Arts & Culture
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Story By Dr. Thomas Heuser, Music Director, Idaho Falls Symphony

Photos Courtesy of Idaho Falls Symphony

One of the most exciting parts of East Idaho is the incredible natural landscape that offers countless adventures and fuels our appreciation for the natural world. But for young people in Idaho Falls and our surrounding communities, the Idaho Falls Symphony offers many ways to embark on adventures in music, from the classroom to the concert hall. Our goal is to introduce the performing arts at an early age, support music lessons and ensemble learning, and then bring our communities of families together in the concert hall for the full Symphony experience.

We begin these musical adventures in our local elementary schools. Young students are the most eager to learn, and so for many decades, our symphony ambassadors have visited school classrooms to further ignite that love of learning. The ambassadors are groups of 4-6 players, representing strings, woodwinds, brass, and jazz ensembles. The musicians perform great music that illustrates educational themes, like “Music Tells a Story” or “Music as a Language.” Each season, the ambassadors perform in the schools for upwards of 3,000 students and teachers, and have recently expanded into more rural districts in our community.

Starting in 2024, our focus on elementary schools has expanded to include LinkUp concerts. 

Designed and curated by Carnegie Hall in New York, the LinkUp concerts are being performed around the country for thousands of elementary school students every season. Local teachers are given a robust musical curriculum that prepares their students for an incredible experience: a field trip to the concert hall and the chance to perform live with the Symphony! Whether playing recorders, violins, or just singing and clapping, the students become part of the show, learn the challenges of performing music and gain exposure to their local symphony.

As a supplement to the music programs provided in our middle and high schools, the symphony proudly supports the Idaho Falls Symphony Youth Orchestra and Preparatory String Orchestra. For nearly 30 seasons, the youth orchestra has fostered musical excellence in the next generation, and regularly graduates advanced music students to prestigious schools of music. Students in the IFSYO and PSO can receive scholarships to offset the cost of private music lessons, which gives them the incentive to take their instrumental skills to the next level. 

Students who reach that next level of musical excellence have the opportunity to compete in our Idaho Falls Symphony Young Artists Competition. Held every other year, the competition awards advanced students in two age groups (junior and senior) the opportunity to perform as a soloist with the Idaho Falls Symphony on a subscription concert. Many past winners have continued their careers in music, and cite the young artists competition as an important catalyst. On April 4, the symphony will present a recital of past winners, “The Return of the Young Artists,” at the Downtown Event Center (DEC) as part of our intimate Soundscapes series. 

The 2024 Young Artist Competition is now accepting applications until May 6. Full competition guidelines and application instructions are available online by visiting The next concert of the Idaho Falls Symphony Youth Orchestra and Preparatory String Orchestra is coming up on Thursday, April 25 at the Frontier Center in Idaho Falls, and auditions for new members will be held in May. Full concert information and details about our education programs are available online anytime. None of these programs would be possible without the generous support of our local sponsors, education grants, and fountain support, and we invite you to learn more about our incredible sponsors on our website. 


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