A local woman started a symphony group that gives kids the chance to play a stringed instrument.

Bree Lewis is not a stranger to music and teaching. She has a Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance and Music Education, according to her personal website. Lewis had a job at a middle school outside of New York City and later at a school in Hawaii. She has two Master degrees—one in Music Education and one in Counseling Psychology.

Lewis is now the conductor of the Waynesville Youth Symphony. She started the symphony in November 2017.

The group started as a violin class for beginners. Lewis said in an email, “Our group started as a beginning violin class in the Lost in the Woods Homeschool Association Co-op. Initially, my desire was to create a homeschool orchestra.”

Lewis soon ran into a problem. She said, “After a few months, I quickly realized it would be difficult to maintain an orchestra within the co-op as families came and went. Our first LITWHA Co-op class in the fall quarter of 2016 had 9 children. Come second quarter, a big family left the co-op and the numbers dropped to 4 children.”

Lewis wanted the group to grow. She said, “In January of 2017, I started another beginning class of 4 children at the FACS Homeschool Co-op on FLW. During this time, I thought we really had to try to meet at a time where both of these co-op groups could merge. And then I thought of my private lesson students who attend public/private school. They could also join if we found the right time to rehearse. Having it available to all children would definitely help the orchestra to sustain and to function as a true orchestra. Especially since there is not a string program in the schools here. Some schools at other bases offer thriving string programs.”

The symphony consists of youth ages 8-18.

Thirty-three musicians make up the Waynesville Youth Symphony and come from surrounding areas as far as Roby and Plato and as close as St. Robert and Waynesville.

The symphony consists of three groups—beginning, intermediate and advanced. Eight musicians make up the beginning group.  Twelve youth form the intermediate group. The advanced group consists of 13 musicians.

The symphony is a traditional string orchestra set up; it consists of violins, violas, cellos and string bass.

The symphony’s next concert is Friday, August 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the youth auditorium at Westside Baptist Church.