“SEMYO has made me a better player overall and has really expanded my knowledge. The thing I like most about SEMYO is how devoted the kids in it are. There are some really talented musicians in SEMYO, so it keeps me motivated and makes SEMYO a lot of fun for me.”

Annika (SEMYO Concert Orchestra Member)


Southeastern Minnesota Youth Orchestras (SEMYO) is a non-profit
organization that provides opportunities for students in grades 4-12 to
rehearse and perform in a symphony orchestra. We have 180 members who
perform in five orchestras on string, woodwind, brass, or percussion
instruments. Each orchestra accommodates students across a wide range of
ages and abilities.

Through participation in our SEMYO ensembles students discover the
joy of performing music, become better musicians, and come together as a
team to perform orchestral masterworks. Students value SEMYO for the
challenging repertoire, friendships made with other musicians, and the
opportunity to play in an ensemble with like-minded peers. Parents value
SEMYO for the quality of instruction, passionate and caring leadership
of the staff, and the sense of belonging it provides for its members.

In addition to full orchestra rehearsal and performance led by
professional conductors, students have coaching sessions with
professional musicians and teachers, opportunities to play in small
ensembles, and the opportunity to compete in an annual concerto

SEMYO orchestras meet on Saturday mornings during the school year and
perform a variety of informal and formal concerts throughout the

“SEMYO for me is the ability to create music together with kids my own age, and I’m happy to be a part of that. Practice is fun (especially when you get to do it with your friends) and Mrs. Ringen-Poencet makes the experience enjoyable.”

Miko (SEMYO Chamber Strings Member)


SEMYO seeks enthusiastic students to audition for our ensembles for the 2022-2023 season. Because SEMYO offers ensembles for all levels of ability, the acceptance rate is very high. Placement in SEMYO ensemble is based on musical performance aptitude. SEMYO is accepting auditions on a rolling basis. Auditions dates for the 2023-2024 season will be announced.  Click here to learn more about auditions and sign up.

SEMYO Orchestras

Prelude Winds (New in 2022!)

SEMYO is pleased to launch a new ensemble in the fall of 2022 called Prelude Winds. Prelude Winds is a fun, educational ensemble for young musicians who play a woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument. Students who are starting grades 5-8 with 1-2 years’ experience on any band instruments are invited to audition. Learn More.

Prelude Winds will meet Saturday mornings from 10-11:30 AM.

Bravura Strings

Bravura Strings is an ensemble for student musicians who play violin, viola, cello, or bass with 1-2 years of playing experience. This is a fun, low-key ensemble for young string players who want to improve in skill while making music with friends.  Learn More.

Bravura Strings meets Saturday mornings from 10-11:30 AM.

Chamber Strings

Chamber Strings is a string orchestra for students who play violin, viola, cello or bass with 2 or more years playing experience (or Suzuki grade 3).  Learn more.

Chamber Strings meets Saturday mornings from 10-11:30 AM.

Philharmonic Orchestra

Full orchestra experience for students of all ages on string, woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments. String players typically need a minimum of 3-4 years experience, wind players 2 or more years experience. Literature includes arranged and original works. Learn more.

Philharmonic Orchestra meets Saturday mornings from 9:30 AM to Noon

Concert Orchestra

Southeastern Minnesota’s premier student instrumental ensemble, the Concert Orchestra is a full orchestra experience for advanced students on string, woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments. Literature includes original masterworks for full symphony orchestra. Learn more.

Concert Orchestra meets Saturday mornings from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM



Ensembles rehearse 2-3 hours each week on Saturday mornings in Rochester during the school year.

SEMYO is divided into three trimesters: fall, winter, and spring. Students are encouraged to participate in SEMYO for the full year. However, students may skip a trimester if it conflicts with other activities.


SEMYO ensembles perform three formal concerts per year at the end of each trimester before a paying audience. 2022-2023 dates are coming soon!

SEMYO Ensembles also perform for special events and outreach concerts.

Participation Fees

The SEMYO season consists of three trimesters per year (Fall, Winter, and Spring), each ending in a concert. Participation fees will be due at the first rehearsal of each concert cycle – September, November, and March.

Tentative Costs for 2022-2023

Annual Registration Fee: $50

Bravura Strings: $150 per trimester
Chamber Strings: $195 per trimester
Philharmonic: $215 per trimester
Concert Orchestra: $245 per trimester

Scholarships are available based on financial need. SEMYO is also offering instrument incentive scholarships for students who play bass, viola, low-brass, and bassoon.  Learn more.

Participation fees cover tuition, tours, and required activities. Additional costs for optional enrichment activities may be incurred.

Southeastern Minnesota Youth Orchestras (SEMYO) seeks to be an organization that values cultural inclusivity and which offers physically and programmatically accessible environments to individuals with disabilities in rehearsals, performances or special events

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