East Texas Youth Orchestra, Inc. is proud to announce two new ensembles: the return of the Preparatory Orchestra, and the addition of Junior Jazz to our Jazz Academy for Spring 2021.


After years of its absence, East Texas Youth Orchestra is excited and eager to open enrollment for the Spring Season of 2021 for the once prominent Preparatory Orchestra.


The Preparatory Orchestra is a strings-only program suited for musicians who have at least one full year of experience with bowing techniques and reading music. They will continue to develop their technique and ensemble skills through rehearsals and performances in preparation for advancement up to our Philharmonic and Symphony Orchestras.


We are excited to expand our offerings in our community. From the moment I arrived at ETYO, I have felt strongly about bringing back the Preparatory Orchestra,” stated Felix Torres, Artistic and Executive Director and Conductor of the Symphony and Preparatory Orchestras.


Engaging musicians at such a young age is essential to the longevity of the arts across our industry. In addition to the Preparatory Orchestra, it’s exciting that we’re also bringing jazz to younger musicians through our Junior Jazz ensemble. Providing life-changing experiences through music is at the core of what we do, and we look forward to providing that for more young musicians.”


Additionally, ETYO is also introducing a new Jazz Academy program. The Junior Jazz will also feature musicians who have at least one full year of playing experience on their instrument and can read music. The program is designed to encourage young musicians with jazz aspirations and interest to learn about the fundamentals of improvisation. Junior jazz welcomes any instrument type.


I am so excited to start Junior Jazz to help young musicians of any instrument learn the roots of jazz,” stated Dr. Sarah Roberts, Director of Operations and Jazz Academy and Conductor of the Jazz Academy Lab Band and Junior Jazz.


After a fantastic response during the last three and a half years with the ETYO Jazz Academy Lab Band, the Junior Jazz will help provide a training ground for musicians. Additionally, it is an opportunity, unlike any other!”


Since the beginning, the mission of East Texas Youth Orchestra, Inc. has been to provide exceptional musical experiences in arts education through a diverse set of programs providing performances that enrich its members and the community. With the addition of these new programs, despite a year of uncertainty in the arts community, ETYO is ready to stand behind its mission and musicians for decades to come.


The Preparatory Orchestra and Junior Jazz join our Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonic Orchestra, and Jazz Academy Lab Band. Auditions for all ETYO ensembles are currently open for qualifying students ready to join these programs for Spring 2021. Learn more about auditions and requirements by visiting


The East Texas Youth Orchestra began as the Tyler Youth Orchestra in 1955, as a violin ensemble for 5th and 6th graders, was reorganized as a string orchestra in 1975, and expanded to a full orchestra in 1979. The Tyler Preparatory Orchestra began in 1991 to provide musical enrichment and training for beginning string musicians. In 2006, the Tyler Academic Orchestra formed to serve intermediate musicians who are still honing their skills for the East Texas Youth Orchestra. In the Spring of 2014, the Tyler Youth Orchestra saw the need to expand our reach and rebranded as the East Texas Youth Orchestra. Today we offer musical education to all borders of the East Texas area.


ETYO recently completed its first international tour to Vienna, Austria, taking over 40 musicians to perform in historical venues including the MuTh, home to the Vienna Boys Choir, and in the Golden Hall of the Musikverein, home of the Vienna Philharmonic. The East Texas Youth Orchestra is led by Artistic & Executive Director Felix Torres and Director of Operations & Jazz Academy director, Dr. Sarah Roberts. The Board of Directors is composed of community leaders from all over East Texas and led by President Phil Ketcham.

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