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From the CSOYO Handbook: “Although we hope there will be no changes to the schedule, please understand that the CSOYO reserves the right to change or modify any of the information (in our calendar) as needed. Notice (in writing if possible) will be given to you well in advance of any change.

SCHEDULE CHANGE due to COVID-19 developments: Updated March 25, 2020

***We are aware of the Governor’s extension of all school closings through April 24, 2020. We are still working with the Tivoli Theatre in the hopes that the Spring Concert can still take place as scheduled. We will update you as soon as definite plans can be confirmed. Please stay tuned and keep practicing at home! – Mrs. Pearson

The Hamilton Co. Dept. of Education has cancelled school from Monday, March 16 thru Friday, March 27, 2020.  Friday, April 10, 2020. Friday, April 24, 2020. 

In response, the CSOYO schedule will be revised as below:

Monday, March 16:         NO REHEARSAL

Monday, March 23:         NO REHEARSAL

Monday, March 30:         NO REHEARSAL

Monday, April 6:               NO REHEARSAL

Monday, April 13:             Regular Rehearsal for all Orchestras

Sunday, April 19:               Chamber Ensemble Dessert Concert – ??? (or May 4?)

Monday, April 20:             Regular Rehearsal for all Orchestras

Monday, April 27:             Regular Rehearsal for all Orchestras

Sunday, May 3:                  Venue Rehearsals at the Tivoli

Monday, May 4:                Spring Concert

May 11-18:                            AUDITIONS as scheduled

**This schedule will be followed assuming there are no further developments related to the CoronaVirus. We will continue to monitor this situation daily and update as necessary.

During the remainder of the season, members will still have 1 allowed absence from rehearsals, however some leniency will be observed when appropriate for any additional absences caused by illness. Please DO NOT come to rehearsal if you are ill/feverish/contagious. We will work with you on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the CSOYO Manager for assistance.

CSOYO ABSENCES DUE TO ILLNESS: During the winter cold and flu season, we encourage all members to stay home from rehearsal if they become ill with vomiting, fever, or any contagious sickness. We do not want illness to spread throughout the orchestra or have members present who are unable to play. However, please remember that per the CSOYO Attendance policy, illness is not an “automatically excused” absence. We advise members to visit a doctor if they are ill and get documentation, and to utilize the Appeals process should more than the number of allowed absences in a concert cycle accrue due to unexpected illness. All absences in the concert cycle are reviewed during an appeal. Please see the Attendance Policy on our website or email the CSOYO Manager if you have questions regarding your attendance. Thank you! Wash your hands often, get some rest, drink lots of water, and take care of yourselves!



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

HCDE: What to expect at CSAS, our rehearsal venue

A Letter from Hamilton Co. Department of Education regarding the Coronavirus:

To our Hamilton County Community:

Hamilton County Schools is working closely with the Chattanooga – Hamilton County Health Department as the concern nationwide regarding the Coronavirus increases. The local Health Department is in close contact with its partners, the Tennessee Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), to monitor the situation and get the latest health recommendations, and they share that information with our school district. There are no known cases of Coronavirus in our area. Even so, Hamilton County Schools will continue to be vigilant in our efforts to prevent the spread of all viruses in our community and schools.

School nurses are working to keep the school environment safe by sending students home when they exhibit signs of fever or flu-like symptoms. We ask parents; please keep your child at home if any of these symptoms are present. Schools will support students in the area of leniency regarding absenteeism from classes and extra-curricular activities. We also encourage employees to stay at home if flu-like symptoms are present. Students and employees should be fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medications for 24-hours before returning to school.

The district is increasing efforts to reinforce proper hygiene practices and cleaning methods to protect students and employees from illnesses such as a cold, flu, and the Coronavirus:

  • Parents, please help us by reinforcing the habit of a child covering any coughs or sneezes with the elbow or tissue and not the hands.
  • Schools will continue to encourage students to wash their hands multiple times during the school day and model proper handwashing. (CDC Information on effective handwashing)
  • Schools and custodial personnel are disinfecting surfaces in schools daily, such as desks, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and other frequently touched areas.
  • Our custodial service provider has fogged every school with an electrostatic disinfectant sprayer and will continue to revisit schools with this cleaning method while concerns are present with the flu or Coronavirus.

The district’s efforts to keep our schools clean and safe learning environments has helped us keep schools open during this flu season.  We appreciate the work of our administrators, teachers, and cleaning staff, and we will increase our efforts during this current concern.

The CDC has recommended school districts have alternative methods in place to provide educational opportunities for students.  Already this year, Hamilton County Schools has provided learning opportunities for children to use on the few days missed due to inclement weather.  The district will continue to develop methods to provide even more alternative learning for students in the future.

We will continue to be proactive during the coming weeks and work with our health partners and the Tennessee Department of Education to make any adjustments necessary to ensure the safest environment possible for our students and employees.  As information is shared with us by state and local officials, we will communicate with our staff, students, parents, and community.

Additional Resources:
The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department
The CDC website


Dr. Bryan Johnson
Superintendent, Hamilton County Schools



Due to upcoming videography by the CSO that will take place at the Spring Concert, we are requesting signed photo releases from every CSOYO member. These forms must be signed by the member and a parent. Only hard copies will be accepted. Please download this form, sign it, and return it to the CSOYO Manager at the next rehearsal. Symphony members who have already completed one do not need to submit another one. Thank you!

These videos 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.


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.”




Parents: Spring Semester Volunteers are needed to help with the Attendance Table on Monday evenings at CSAS for regular rehearsals. Volunteers are needed from approximately 5:30 – 6:30 PM each Monday. Please check available dates and sign up HERE:

REMEMBER: All CSOYO Families are asked to volunteer at least 2 hours per season. Thank you so much!


A CSOYO photo gallery is now available for viewing, featuring group shots and various candid shots from the Fall Concerts in November. Prints are available to order for a fee from the gallery, in various sizes, through Jered Scott Photography, and will be mailed directly to you. The gallery will be open for viewing and placing orders through the end of the YO season, closing on May 5, 2020.

The gallery is password protected. To receive the password, please email the CSOYO Manager at Passwords will be approved for any member email or parent email that was submitted on the YO Member’s application from auditions. To protect the privacy of our YO members, please do NOT share the password with anyone else. Passwords will be updated periodically. Please allow 24 hours to receive the password so that your email can be confirmed.

There are two galleries – one for Symphony and Philharmonic (Nov. 4) and one for Etude and Prelude (Nov. 18). Photographs can be ordered by clicking on the Cart icon in the upper right corner of the page for each image. Thank you and enjoy!