News Release, Susan Lambert, Executive Director, SMYOC

St. Mary’s County, MD – The Southern Maryland Youth Orchestra & Choir (SMYOC) will hold auditions for all ensembles in the first weeks of September. SMYOC is a non-profit working to expand opportunities for talented young musicians in Maryland’s Tri-County by offering high-quality choral and orchestral programs for youth ages 8 and older. SMYOC currently runs 1 full symphonic youth orchestra (YO), 1 preparatory strings orchestra (PSO), 2 youth (or advanced) choirs and 2 preparatory choirs. 

SMYOC employs 4 part-time professional, experienced staff to direct the ensembles.

Both orchestras and 2 of the four choirs (1 youth and 1 preparatory choir) meet weekly on Saturdays in Solomons.  

Rehearsals for the other 2 choirs (1 youth and 1 preparatory) occur on Monday evenings in Prince Frederick.  

Auditions for the Prep Strings Orchestra (PSO), the Youth Orchestra (YO) and the 2 choirs meeting in Solomons will take place on Saturdays September 7 & September 14.  All auditions will be held at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in Solomons.  

Auditions for the 2 choirs meetings in Prince Frederick will take place on Mondays September 9 and September 16 at Calvert Middle School.

Students must register for an individual audition time. There is no fee to audition. If accepted, there is tuition for participation.  Financial aid is available.  Go to AUDITIONS for more information.

About SMYOC’s Ensembles

SMYOC Prep Strings Orchestra (PSO) is the place for talented, motivated young violinists, violists, and cellists who are already comfortable on their instruments but eager to develop their skills in an ensemble setting. Players must already be able to read music and have skills at Level 2 or above. Ms. Alicia Sampson, violinist, begins her 3rd year as the conductor of the PSO.

SMYOC’s Youth Orchestra (YO) is a full symphonic orchestra suitable for already skilled youth instrumentalists (strings, winds, percussion, brass; traditional and non-traditional instruments accepted) who are motivated in their musical development and able to play at Level 4 or above.  Under the direction of Mr. Julien Benichou, the upcoming YO season will include a side-by-side concert with COSMIC Symphony ( in March and a performance with acclaimed guest opera singer Kevin Short in October. Additional concerts are planned for February and May. In late June 2020, the group will go on tour to Montreal, Canada.

SMYOC Choir is open to talented youth singers ages 8 and older. The Prep Choir is a beginning choral ensemble for clearly musical but less experienced singers. The Youth Choir is a more advanced group for singers who have vocal experience and some already developed skill.  The choral programs are offered in two different rehearsal locations: Saturday mornings in Solomons OR Monday nights in Prince Frederick. The choirs rehearsing in Solomons will be led by SMYOC’s newest member of staff, Mr. Simon Charette, who also conducts the Rochambeau Choir and the Choir of the Embassy of France in Washington. Ms. Liesl Schiavone, director of Music Ministry at St Anthony Catholic Church in North Beach, begins her 3rd year as conductor of SMYOC Choir in Prince Frederick. All singers perform multiple joint concerts a year, often in collaboration with SMYOC’s instrumentalists and orchestras. Students develop their vocal skills and passion for music in an environment that is supportive and fun while also fast-paced and rigorous. Youth Choir vocalists will be invited to go on tour to Montreal, Canada, in late June 2020 with the Youth Orchestra.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...