Youth Orchestras Overview

Welcome to Holland Symphony Youth Orchestras (HSYO).

We’re delighted that you have elected to join us to contribute your musical talents, to grow in your skills, and to assist us in providing musical opportunities for both you and our community. 

The following pages will give you information regarding successful membership, information for auditions, rehearsals and concerts as well as additional opportunities that you may wish to consider.  This year’s calendar will assist you in planning your schedule as you balance school work, sports, and musical commitments.

We trust that your participation with your chosen group in the Holland Symphony Youth Orchestras (HSYO) will enhance your school musical participation as well.

We look forward to another successful symphonic year with your commitment to excellence.  

Statement of Purpose

Holland Symphony Youth Orchestras is an educational outreach program of Holland Symphony Orchestra. 

The Holland Symphony Youth Orchestras are committed to pre-professional training of young musicians in the greater Holland area. The organization consists of three orchestras:

  • Holland Area Youth Orchestra (HAYO) is an orchestra of students through age 21 who join the orchestra through a competitive audition process. 
  • Holland Area Concert Strings (HACS) is an auditioned intermediate string orchestra focused on developing skills for students who may not be quite ready for the difficulty level of the Holland Area Youth Orchestra. 
  • Holland Area Junior Strings (HAJS) is a string orchestra of students from sixth through ninth grades with at least two years experience and no audition is required.


  • We are committed to use standard orchestral literature for a full symphonic orchestra in addition to programmatic arrangements for youth orchestras.
  • We focus on education as well as performance. We cultivate excellence under outstanding conductors and coaches, thus seeking to provide an educationally sound musical experience that will motivate the students to fulfill their potential and to strive for that same excellence. Lesson scholarships are available to encourage private lessons.
  • We encourage and sponsor chamber music and chamber ensembles through coaching and performances.
  • We seek to enhance the cultural environment of the families and communities we serve. We wish to promote the appreciation of the performing arts in the community through collaborations and guest artists.
  • We seek to be an inspiration to our members and other young musicians by offering peer groups for students interested in orchestra from several area schools. Through HSYO, talented students who have attained a similar level of expertise and share the love of classical music, motivate and encourage each other.

Holland Area Youth Orchestra (HAYO) – Formed in 1988, HAYO has grown from a string orchestra to a full orchestra (strings, winds, and percussion), grades 8-12. Members of HAYO represent many different schools in the greater Holland and Lakeshore area and are auditioned for membership and chair placement. Two formal concerts are scheduled during the season, one in late fall and the other in early spring. Former conductors have been Mr. Harold Geerdes, Mr. Cal Langejans, Mr. Steven Benham, Dr. Russell Floyd, and Richard Piippo. The current conductor is Dr. Christopher Fashun.

Holland Area Concert Strings (HACS) – In 2017 the most advanced members of Junior Strings were invited to join a new group called Corelli Strings to bridge the gap between the difficulty levels of Junior Strings and the youth orchestra.  In the fall of 2018, Holland Area Concert Strings replaced the Corelli Strings.  Auditions are required in the spring for fall participation.  HACS performs two concerts a year.

Holland Area Junior Strings (HAJS) – Started in 1997, HAJS is a beginning string ensemble for students with a minimum of two years experience playing their instrument in either private lessons or school orchestra. No auditions are required. Students will receive both technical and musical instruction to help them play their instrument better, as well as understand musical terms, the conductor, and their role as orchestral players. HAJS performs two concerts a year.