“Youngstown Symphony Youth Orchestra” by Sarah Skiver, Ursuline student. Youngstown is made up of a multitude of different individuals, all with their own thoughts and opinions on the city they live in. Instead of always having blogs written by the City of You’s creative team, we’re going to change the perspective a bit and allow Youngstown’s youth to shine. A group of high schoolers have been taking a summer course at Youngstown State University with the City of You’s own RJ Thompson. In this course, they’re learning how to blog, make graphics and be more active in the community. They were asked to write a blog about something within city limits that they think should be recognized  more by those who live in Youngstown. The responses that the City of You received were too good not to be shared – so here they are. They are edited a bit for clarity, but are being presented with the same style and nuance that the writer used when he or she wrote it originally. We’re excited to present a new perspective on Youngstown from some of its brightest young minds. Enjoy!


The Youngstown Symphony Youth Orchestra is an orchestra open to students ages 13-18. The students audition in August, and then rehearse every Monday for the two concerts that they present every year.

The orchestra is directed by Stephen L. Gage and Richard M. Smrek. Dr. Gage has been the director of the orchestra for 24 seasons and has been the Professor of Conducting and Director of Bands and Orchestra at YSU’s Dana School of Music since 1993. Richard M. Smrek has been the assistant director of the orchestra since 2004. He is also a member of the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, Canton Symphony and the Warren Philharmonic Orchestra.

The most recent concert by the Youngstown Symphony Youth Orchestra was titled “Celestial Music” and took place on May 7 at 4 pm. It was held in the Edward W. Powers auditorium in the DeYor Perfoming Arts Center. The first piece, conducted by Dr. Gage, was “Zigeunerweisen for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 20.” by Pablo De Sarasate.

The piece featured Noah Lee, who is the 2016-2017 Youngstown Symphony Youth Orchestra Senior Concerto Winner. Noah Lee is a violinist who was a member of the class of 2017 at Poland Seminary High School. The second piece was Alexander Borodin’s “Polovtsian Dances (No. 17)”, conducted by Mr. Smrek.

For the final piece, the Orchestra, conducted by Dr. Gage, performed two movements of “The Planets” by Gustav Holst. The first, titled “Mars, the Bringer of War” calls upon Holst’s memories of World War I to present a menacing piece that leaves the audience feeling uneasy. The second movement, “Jupiter, the bringer of Jollity” is the most popular movement of “The Planets” and has been described as the center point of the suite.

If you would like more information about the Youngstown Symphony Youth Orchestra, please visithttp://www.youngstownsymphony.com/for-educators/yso-youth-orchestra/.