50th Anniversary

The Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras is celebrating their 50th Anniversary this season. The year will be focused on reconnecting with our thousands of Alumni from the past 50 years; remembering all of our previous conductors, directors, and staff; as well as celebrating the future of the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras. WYSO kicked off this momentous occasion with a retrospective exhibit at the Dane County Regional Airport. The celebration will continue all season long. The climax of the season will be when WYSO welcomes back alumni from around the world for their celebration weekend which will include their 50th Anniversary Gala Concert at Overture Hall on February 20th, 2016.

This season is not only dedicated to the nearly 5000 alumni which have passed through the musical halls of WYSO, but also celebrating the program’s birth, growth and evolution. The Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras were founded by Dr. Marvin Rabin in 1966. At the time there was only one orchestra, a conductor, a manager and 83 members in the charter orchestra. In the past 50 years WYSO has grown in to a multi-faceted organization at the artistic and administrative levels. The program now features three full orchestras, a string orchestra, a chamber program, a harp ensemble, a percussion ensemble, and a brass choir.The membership has quadrupled in size, the administrative staff has grown, and WYSO now employs dozens of talented and illustrious musicians as their conductors, teachers, and coaches.  WYSO has grown in to an institution of musical excellence that is proud of its reputation of being one of the premiere youth orchestra programs in the world.


We are beyond excited to invite you to be an honored guest at our 50th Anniversary Celebration Weekend. The weekend of February 19 – 21 will be a special opportunity for alumni, staff, friends, and supporters of WYSO to come together, celebrate and relive their love of music. We know it’s in the middle of Wisconsin’s winter – a reminder of when most of you made the difficult sacrifices to get to a rehearsal on a cold and snowy Saturday morning no matter what! Let’s face it, the sacrifices made by you and your family make this 50 year celebration a true milestone! We will celebrate the continuous efforts to bring the WYSO experience into the hearts and homes of so many talented youth throughout south central Wisconsin and beyond.

We are offering all alumni the opportunity to join us for the full weekend as our guest thanks to our many sponsors. For $40 you may also include an additional guest.

By attending this memorable weekend, all registered alumni will receive a WYSO Alumni T-shirt, tote bag, and commemorative book of the last 50 years of WYSO. There are also hotel rooms reserved for the weekend that you may purchase if you wish. You are part of what has made WYSO such an unbelievable story. We sincerely hope you will come out for our celebration weekend and help us not only celebrate the last 50 years of our founder Dr. Marvin Rabin’s vision, but look ahead to the next 50.

WYSO Welcomes back Alumni Guest Artists

WYSO is extremely fortunate to have helped shape many Alumni who have gone on to have illustrious careers as musicians. This year, in honor of our 50th Anniversary, we are welcoming back several alumni to coach, speak, and perform with our members. Read about all of our alumni guest artists on our guest artist page.

World Premiere Performed by Charter Members

During the 50th Anniversary Celebration Weekend, WYSO will be hosting a performance of a world premiere work by composer Andrew Wilson. The new work, The Mintage of Man, was commissioned by WYSO Charter Member Don Jenny. Jenny, along with two other WYSO Charter Member Alumni will perform the piece on Saturday, February 20th. Read more about this special commissioned work.

Schedule of 50th Anniversary Events

Friday, September 25, 2015

Retrospective Exhibit “Kick-off” Reception
Dane County Airport

Friday, February 19, 2016

Alumni Welcome Reception
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Lowell Hall – UW Campus

Saturday February 20, 2016

Check in for Alumni Open Rehearsal
8:30 am – 9:30 am
Mills Hall Lobby

Open Rehearsal with Social Breaks
9:30 am – Noon
Mills Hall

World Premiere of “Mintage of Man”
12:30 pm
Morphy Hall

Check in
4:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Overture Promenade Terrace

Pre-Concert Reception
Exclusively sponsored by The Burish Group
4:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Overture Promenade Hall

50th Anniversary Gala Concert – SOLD OUT!
Major funding provided by Pleasant Rowland and Jerry Frautschi.
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Overture Hall

Post-Concert Celebration
9:00 pm – 10:30 pm
Overture Promenade Lobby

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Anniversary Brunch
10:00 am – Noon
Varsity Hall, Union South

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Free Family Concert at Goodman Community Center
Philharmonia Orchestra
Goodman Center

50th Anniversary Business Sponsors

We are extremely grateful to our 50th Anniversary Business Sponsors. Their support has enabled WYSO to continue to provide transformational musical experiences to children in south-central Wisconsin and beyond.

Diamond Sponsor

The Burish Group
Wallman Investment Counsel

Platinum Sponsors

Promega Corp.

Gold Sponsors

Nevaiser Investments, Inc./ Doubletree
Oak Bank
Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, S.C.

Silver Sponsors

Boardman & Clark, LLP
Betty and Corky Custer/ Lincoln Financial
EnRich Financial Partners
US Bank
Wegner CPAs

Bronze Sponsors

Assemblage Architects
Electronic Theater Controls
Farley’s House of Pianos
Madison Arts Commission
Midwest Open MRI
Potter Lawson
Steinhauer Charitable Trust

In-kind Sponsors

Dane County Regional Airport
Peak Creative
Tandem Press

Support WYSO

Click to make a secure online donation.

Shop at Amazon.com

Help support WYSO programs when you shop Amazon.com!

Sign up for our Emails

To receive WYSO news and updates Sign up for our newsletter