Armstrong Youth Orchestra

The GOAL of the Armstrong Atlantic Youth Orchestra Program is to offer serious music students the opportunity to play in an accomplished orchestra while developing their musical skills. We strive to teach them constructive study, rehearsal, and performance habits in a joyful, rewarding, and cooperative atmosphere.

All of our students gain the valuable experience of working with Savannah's best professional orchestra musicians and teachers. Professional orchestra string and wind instructors provide several weeks of sectional rehearsals where each instrumental group receives specialized instruction.

  • Debut Strings
  • Lyric String I and II
  • Atlantic Chamber Orchestra
  • Armstrong Atlantic Youth Orchestra

The Armstrong Atlantic Youth Orchestra (AAYO)

This is the most advanced ensemble and is a full-scale symphonic orchestra for which AASU music students may participate for course credit. Many members in this group come from the Savannah Chatham County High Schools, as well as neighboring counties. This orchestra has the opportunity to flourish under the direction of one of the most respected conductors in the tri-state area, Neil Casey. Maestro Casey is the assistant conductor of the Augusta Symphony and also on the conducting staff at the University of South Carolina. He was the first conductor of the Greater Augusta Youth Orchestra and has worked with many student and professional orchestras throughout the southeast.

Atlantic Chamber Orchestra (ACO)

This is the intermediate-level ensemble and is a full symphonic orchestra (strings plus all woodwinds, brass, and percussion), and what Armstrong believes to be the only full orchestral ensemble at this age level in the state. Emily Calhoun, Orchestra Director at Savannah Arts Academy, and Lorraine Jones, flute instructor at Armstrong and Executive Director of the AAYO program, are the co-directors of the ACO.

Debut Strings and the Lyric Strings Ensembles (DSE and LSE I, II)

These are our beginning-level string orchestra groups that introduce many young musicians to the world of ensemble playing, particularly for those students whose school does not maintain an orchestra.

Debut Strings is for the beginning string student. Rehearsals will cover note reading, identifying rhythms, and playing simple orchestra pieces together as an orchestra.

Lyric Strings I is for beginning string students who already read notes and rhythms and who are ready for the full string orchestra experience. The pieces that LSE I practice are in first position.

Lyric Strings II is for the string student that is able to handle more intricate rhythms and notes. Lyric Strings II is meant to challenge the string student who wants to move on to playing with a full symphony orchestra. Some shifting to third position may be required and the music that this group plays will definitely need to be practiced at home and worked on with a private teacher.