The vision of the Wu Family Academy for Learning and Engagement (WFA) is to change lives by expanding the understanding of the arts, empowering students to have confidence in their creative decisions, and sparking a passion for music that will last a lifetime. We aim to inspire life-long music making—whether as a hobby or a career.

Through live and digital partnerships, hands-on music education, and training in classrooms, communities, and virtual settings, the Wu Family Academy cultivates relationships that impact lives today, and as a result, our communities tomorrow.


This season, we're celebrating 50 years of our Civic Youth Ensembles (CYE) helping local students experience their world through music. Growing from one ensemble in 1970 to what is now two full orchestras, eleven classical and jazz ensembles, and a bucket band, CYE engages more than 300 youth each week, offering opportunities to students at all skill levels, regardless of their ability to pay.

Led by dedicated and masterful music directors, each ensemble provides a unique opportunity for students seeking musical experiences beyond the classroom, even providing students the chance to perform at historic Orchestra Hall and learn from Detroit Symphony Orchestra musicians.

Thank you for 50 years of Civic Youth Ensembles (CYE)


The DSO has been a pillar of the Detroit Arts & Culture Sector for more than 130 years. Musical connection matters to us. People and families matter to us. Since 2015, we have been actively working to instill the principles of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in our culture and in our programs. In 2017, we began our Social Progress Initiative, affirming a commitment to continuous dialogue and action that leverages the power of music to improve quality of life for the people of Detroit and beyond. The Detroit Strategy is the next phase of this critical work.

In 2019, we announced Detroit Harmony, an initiative to put an instrument in the hands of any Detroit student that wishes to have one. 

Detroit Harmony is a scalable and sustainable citywide collaboration that improves child development through music education and arts-based learning, while also growing economic opportunity by employing Detroiters in the provision of instruments and music education.

Damien Crutcher Introduces Detroit Harmony

Through organizational partnership building, Community Listening Sessions, and the implementation of our Detroit Strategy Process, we are collectively designing and presenting Musical Experiences in Detroit neighborhoods. These Musical Experiences are designed to build sustainable relationships, celebrate the community, and support the work of our partners.

This summer, we will present four neighborhood-driven Musical Experiences in Southwest Detroit and Chandler Park.

The Musical Experiences bring together DSO musicians and community artists, support local organizations and initiatives, and connect community members with musical resources for adults and children alike.

Civic Youth Ensembles Turn 50!

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