Greetings to the NYS community,

I hope you are safe and secure through these difficult circumstances. I’m writing to update you on our 2019-2020 season. 

Unfortunately, it’s become clear that we cannot hold our final Spring 2020 concert this season at Norwalk Concert Hall. This is quite a disappointment to myself, the board, the artistic staff and certainly to our young musicians. The situation in the world around us keeps us from meeting at City Hall for rehearsals and asks us to continue to social distance. Even if the situation improved by the time of the June concert, an orchestra needs rehearsal time and musicians need to practice together. That’s just not going to be possible at the level needed for a performance-level concert.

As with the schools, work and the rest of our lives we have been adjusting to this extraordinary situation. 

The conductors have been working on “virtual projects” across the orchestras and ensembles. Our ensembles will have a final project ready to share with all of you as we reach the end of this season. These projects take a lot of behind the scenes work, coordination and participation from many people (thank you parents!) and rely on some additional purchased software tools but in the end keeps the ensembles making music together. Stay tuned for these “performances” to be widely shared as they are completed.

Seniors (and I know from personal experience) are hit especially hard by this season’s outcome. One bright note was the fact we were able to hold the annual senior dinner with the conductors after the last concert. Another special thank you goes to January Stewart who captured amazing photographs of many of our seniors ( on NYS Instagram) over the last weeks we were together. She has graciously offered to donate professional photographs to our seniors. We’re also working on a few special surprises to “virtually” acknowledge their role as leaders in NYS. 

With that I’d love to tell you all the details of what we plan to do in the Fall, but unfortunately, I don’t have them. There’s still a lot we all are waiting to learn and a lot of hope for NYS and our community at large. We’ve formed an ad-hoc committee made up of conductors, board members and members of our parent community to consider planning our 2020-2021 season. There’s so much unknown that there’s not a lot of specifics so far to share, but please know that we will be sending out more information over the summer. One item the board has already decided is to waive the audition fee for the 2020-2021 season in anticipation for what will come and in consideration of this season's circumstances.

One final thing to call out is our participation in the League of American Orchestras, Youth Orchestra Division. Sara Watkins has been participating in regular calls and information sessions lead by well known and respected leaders and other youth orchestras directors. We are not alone. There is a lot of information and ideas being shared between organizations and I’m hopeful the best ideas will be available and beneficial to us all. 

We will be making music together, possibly in new ways and new formats, but I’m hopeful and confident we’ll all be together in Norwalk Concert Hall with our young musicians, smiling faces and listening to the music being created - together, sharing the experience. 

You can expect more details and information over the next few months as we form our plan for 2020-2021. I appreciate and value your continued support and understanding and I look forward to the “virtual projects”.

To our young musicians - Keep on playing. Keep on practicing. Keep on loving music. I can’t wait to hear you again soon. 

I wish everyone safety and health,

Mark Famous
Board of Directors
Norwalk Youth Symphony
For questions or additional information, contact us at:

NYS Office Tel.: (203) 866-4100
Cell: (rehearsal hours) (203) 984-2658
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