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Congratulations to the Class of 2020 CSOYO Seniors!

Today’s featured senior:




GRANT SCUTT (TRUMPET) Grant is the son of Susan and Sheldon Scutt. He is graduating from Chattanooga Central High School. He has been a member of the CSOYO for one season. Since joining, Grant was selected to participate in the MTSU Honor Orchestra, All East Honor Band and the Leo Honor Band. He plans to attend East Tennessee State University to major in computing with a concentration in cyber securities and networks, and minor in Finance.

“Grant has proven himself to be a skilled trumpeter this year, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know him and appreciated his good work!” – Ms. Sandy Morris


See more Seniors here: 2020 SENIOR GALLERY   (updated daily)




CONGRATULATIONS TO SASHA & JACKS selected to the National Youth Orchestra!! 

Congratulations to CSOYO Principal Flute Sasha Hitachi-Kizziah and CSOYO Principal Oboe Jacks Pollard!

Sasha and Jacks have been selected to participate in the prestigious National Youth Orchestra (NYO), a program sponsored by Carnegie Hall. Jacks and Sasha are two out of only three participants selected from Tennessee. The NYO is made up of the top musicians ages 16-19 in the US. We are so proud of them both! Congratulations!

CONGRATULATIONS to the 2020 Conductor’s Award Recipients!

Each spring, Mr. Gary Wilkes recognizes outstanding seniors in the CSOYO Symphony for their musicianship, dependability and cooperation. We are excited to recognize the following recipients of this year’s Conductor Awards:

Conductor’s Award: STRINGS: Matthew Prus (Violin)

Conductor’s Award: WINDS: Sasha Hitachi (Flute) and Will Murdoch (Bassoon)


Conductor’s Award: BRASS: Sam White (Trumpet)


2020 CSOYO AUDITIONS: (See our Auditions page for updates, audition requirements and application form)

Current members: Watch your email in May for instructions on how to automatically renew your membership by signing the 2020 Letter of Intent.

Auditionees: Instructions will be emailed to you in early July for how to submit your Video Audition.

QUESTIONS? Please email the CSOYO Manager, Stephanie Pearson, at



CSO Statement Regarding COVID-19:

Like most other local organizations, we are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation. At this time, we intend to continue presenting our concerts and events. We are advising staff, volunteers, musicians, and patrons to follow CDC’s guidelines on hand-washing, social distancing, and not attending/participating in events when sick. We will provide hand sanitizer at the marketing table at all events for patron use, as well as backstage at musician rehearsals. You have the right to protect yourself by avoiding shaking hands, hugging, or other physical contact with others. Volunteers may suggest to patrons that they show their tickets instead of having them handed over and torn.

Our basic rule for all staff, volunteers, and musicians is to refrain from coming to work if you have not been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications. We strongly encourage you to stay home if you show any signs of illness with fever. If you are ill and see a doctor, please do not return to work without approval from the doctor. If you do become sick with COVID-19 symptoms, practice self-quarantine methods and alert your superior. We will be as flexible as possible regarding absences due to illness.

Decisions on cancelling any concerts or events will be determined by the Department of Health, the Tivoli Theatre, HCDE (for CSOYO and other school-related activities), and/or CSO management. Any updates will be emailed, as well as put on social media and our website at Thank you all for your cooperation and understanding.

LINK TO Hamilton Co. Department of Health INFO: HERE




Videos and photographs of CSOYO members will be used to promote the CSOYO and the CSO on our websites and social media. If you have any questions or objections to appearing in these videos, please contact the CSOYO Manager at or 423-267-9011. All 2019-2020 members should download, complete and return the release form to the CSOYO Manager via scan/email or regular mail. Thank you!


Chattanooga Symphony & Opera Announces Appointment of new CSO Youth Orchestra Conductor/CSO Assistant Conductor
Chattanooga, TN – 2/10/20 –

The Chattanooga Symphony & Opera is pleased to introduce Ismael Sandoval as the new CSO Youth Orchestra/CSO Assistant Conductor beginning June 1, 2020. This new combined conductor role will allow Sandoval to conduct the CSOYO Symphony Orchestra, the organization’s top youth orchestra, as well as assist Music Director Kayoko Dan with cover conducting of Masterworks concerts. Sandoval will also conduct other concerts throughout each season. Sandoval will be replacing Gary Wilkes as CSOYO Symphony Conductor due to Wilkes’ retirement from the position after 28 years.

Sandoval most recently served as Assistant/Cover Conductor for the Boston Philharmonic & Youth Philharmonic Orchestras, as well as Music Director for the Promenade Opera Project, Assistant/Cover Conductor for The Eureka Ensemble, and Artistic Director and Conductor of The Women’s Chorus. Sandoval graduated with Bachelor of Music degrees in Music Education and Music Composition from the University of Florida, and holds a Masters of Music in Orchestral Conducting from The Boston Conservatory.

“After Gary’s long-term tenure with the CSOYO, we are happy to announce our next leader who will continue the tradition of excellence with the youth orchestras,” states Kayoko Dan, CSO Music Director. “Ismael is an excellent and energetic educator and musician and we’re thrilled to have him join our conducting staff.”

“I’m beyond thrilled to be working with everyone at the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera, especially the students of the CSOYO, who are an amazing part of the city’s arts and educational communities,” states Sandoval. “In addition to doing what I can to enable both orchestras to succeed and grow, a major priority for me during my time there will be to cultivate a stronger community in Chattanooga by engaging all of us through collaborative and community driven endeavors.”