Na’Zir McFadden, Director
Founded in 1970, the DSYO is CYE’s premier youth orchestra. Through advanced orchestral repertoire, students are challenged to perform at professional levels, to strive for advanced musicianship, and to continue to enhance their superior technical and musical ensemble playing.
Open to advanced string, woodwind, brass, and percussion musicians in high school through age 20.
Ken Thompson, Director
The DSYWE provides opportunities for advanced students to study and perform works from the wind repertoire, from 16th century compositions to contemporary world premieres.
Open to advanced woodwind, brass, and percussion musicians of high school age.
Ken Thompson, Director
The Civic Philharmonic Orchestra provides advanced musicians the opportunity to learn challenging repertoire while continuing to develop their musicianship.
Open to advanced string, woodwind, brass, and percussion musicians of upper middle through high school age.
Civic Symphonic String Orchestra students receive deeper instruction and preparation for progressing in their musical endeavors. The Civic Symphonic String Orchestra is a bridge between beginner and advanced studies.
Open to intermediate string instrument students of middle and high school age.
Mark Mutter, Director
Founded in 2011, Civic Concert String Orchestra provides training for intermediate-level middle and high school students. Students in Civic Concert Orchestra will receive deeper instruction and preparation for moving forward in their musical endeavors. Civic Concert String Orchestra is designed to meet the growing need of orchestral training beyond their school programs, taking students from the entry level ensemble and challenging them, preparing them for high-level performances on Orchestra Hall Stage.
Danny DeRose, Director
The Civic Arco String Orchestra offers an excellent launching pad into the world of orchestral performance. Students learn basic ensemble techniques that are crucial to those with limited experience in an orchestral setting.
Open to beginning level string students of elementary and middle school age.
The Pizzicato String Ensemble offers an excellent launching pad into the world of orchestral performance by focusing on the presentation of rudimentary ensemble techniques. The curriculum allows for advancement of those who have limited experience playing in an orchestral setting, while providing a performance outlet for beginners.
Open to beginning level string students of elementary age.
Kristin Blanchard, Director
The Civic Concert Band is the CYE's introductory level wind band designed to give wind, brass, and percussion students experience in an ensemble setting by rehearsing fundamental ensemble skills side by side with peers and performing in historic Orchestra Hall.
Damien Crutcher, Director
The Civic Symphonic Band is the CYE's intermediate level wind band designed to give wind, brass, and percussion students experience in an ensemble setting by rehearsing fundamental ensemble skills.
Open to intermediate level woodwind, brass, and percussion students of middle school age.
The CJO is CYE's premier jazz ensemble, providing students advanced experiences in performing music of varying styles from the standard jazz repertoire. The CJO is featured in their own concert series, Civic Jazz Live! in the Cube at the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center before select Paradise Jazz Concerts.
Open to advanced, high school age jazz students in piano, guitar, upright bass, bass guitar, woodwind, brass, and percussion/drums.
Dominic Waddles, Director
The Civic Jazz Band allows students the opportunity to develop their ensemble skills through section playing, improvisation, and theory while performing big band standards and jazz classics.
Open to beginner & intermediate, high school age jazz students in piano, guitar, upright bass, bass guitar, woodwind, brass, and percussion/drums.
The Creative Jazz Ensemble opens the doors of the jazz world to all intermediate to advanced students, including those outside the traditional jazz instrumentation. Students in the Creative Jazz Ensemble have the unique opportunity to enhance their understanding of jazz theory and improvisation in a non-traditional setting by collaborating with each other and arranging their own charts.
Open to intermediate and advanced students of most instruments—including strings, oboe, bassoon, horn, tuba, etc.—of middle and high school age interested in jazz.
Launched in 2017, the Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation Allegro Ensemble joins the DSO’s many CYE groups as an in-school, tuition-free option for students at Ellington Conservatory of Music & Art at Beckham Academy, a DPSCD school on Detroit’s east side.
The Dresner Foundation Allegro Ensemble is an entry-level violin group that provides training, instruments, and materials to students free of charge. Classes are taught by CYE instructors Leslie DeShazor and Ashley Nelson both during and after the students’ school day, in collaboration with Ellington Conservatory teacher Sean Patton. Prior experience is not needed to join the group.
Dresner Foundation Allegro Ensemble students are invited to continue their studies with other CYE groups tuition-free and using the same instruments provided.
Darrell "Red" Campbell, Director
The DSO partnered with the Detroit Pistons in 2018 to create the Detroit Pistons Bucket Band: a new, tuition-free addition to the DSO’s Civic Youth Ensembles (CYE). Based at neighboring Spain Elementary-Middle School, this partnership is an expansion of the school-based ensembles the DSO inaugurated with the Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation in 2017.
The Detroit Pistons Bucket Band is a percussion ensemble that teaches students percussion techniques and musical principles in a fun and creative way. Led by CYE instructor Darell Campbell, students also get to interact with Pistons representatives and players and DSO musicians. Students have the chance to perform at a variety of different venues, including at Orchestra Hall and during Pistons games at Little Caesars Arena.
Along with the Dresner Foundation Allegro Ensemble, the Detroit Pistons Bucket Band creates a pathway for Detroit students to pursue music education further by participating tuition-free in other CYE ensembles during and after their time in the Bucket Band.
Musicians from the Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra and Detroit Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble perform alongside Detroit’s Ballet Americana in a full production of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet The Nutcracker.
Please note this is a seasonal ensemble made exclusively of current CYE musicians, and placements are by invite only.