Youth Programs

Students from the John M. Barry Boys and Girls Club of Newton at the Newton Symphony Orchestra concert on November 16th 2008, pictured with Thomas Yu, pianist, James M. Orent, Jim Schpeiser of the Boys and Girls Club and Christopher Shih, pianist.

The Newton Symphony Orchestra was founded and supported from the outset by people who believed in educating children through and about music. Henry Lasker, a beloved and long-time music teacher at Newton High School, (music teacher of our Music Director) and his wife Gertrude were amongst the first people to help organize Newton Symphony Orchestra concerts. In order to offer an opportunity for the youth of Newton to hear the orchestra an annual family concert was soon instituted. Each year a student was selected, by competitive audition, to perform a concerto with the orchestra at that concert. In addition Henry’s composition students often had works performed during those concerts.

The competitive audition to play at the family concert has now become a full fledged concerto competition open to students of school age, who are resident in Newton. It is called Newton’s Classical Idol Competition. The winner of the high school division is awarded the Lasker prize and is given the opportunity to perform part of a concerto with the orchestra. Student composers are invited to submit scores for consideration for inclusion in the family concert.

Also at the annual family concert, music students from throughout Newton are given the opportunity to play side by side with Newton Symphony Orchestra members; chorus members from Newton’s middle and high schools perform with the orchestra.

The orchestra offers children the opportunity to attend concerts at a subsidized rate. In the 2008-2009 season we received funding from the Patriots Foundation that has enabled a number of children from the John M. Barry Boys and Girls Club of Newton to attend our concerts. Children’s rate tickets are available for all concerts.