Philharmonic Orchestra

About the Orchestra

The Philharmonic Orchestras is a 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, and wind/brass/percussion players 1-2 years experience. Recent repertoire has included arrangements of An American in Paris, New World Symphony, and Russian Sailor’s Dance. Original works include Pirate’s Dance and Warrior Legacy by Soon He Newbold. 

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Conductor – Sarah Gifford

Mrs. Sarah Gifford is a Rochester native and SEMYO’s Philharmonic Orchestra conductor. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music with a K-12 Music Education minor from Luther College, and a Master of Music degree in Clarinet Performance from the University of Oklahoma. During her undergraduate and graduate education, she had several opportunities to perform internationally in Austria, Brazil, Japan, and Italy. Mrs. Gifford previously served as a 5-12 band director in Breckenridge, MN, where she also taught piano lessons and figure skating lessons. Read More…


Saturday mornings from 9:30 a.m. – Noon (early September to mid May with holiday breaks).


Philharmonic Orchestra performs 3 formal concerts per year, one holiday performance, and one day-long outreach tour. Formal concert dates for the 2023-2024 season include November 12, February 25, and May 19. 

Fees & Financial Assistance

Participation fee of $215 per trimester (season – $645) + $50 Registration Free per family. Discounts are available for families with multiple children and families traveling from outside of the greater Rochester area. 

SEMYO is open to all student musicians regardless of financial constraints. To apply for tuition assistance click here

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