If you are interested in being part of the Delaware Youth Symphony Orchestra, auditions are being held tomorrow at 9 a.m. at the Music School of Delaware.

The Music School of Delaware's Delaware Youth Symphony Orchestra (DYSO) made its official debut as the region's leading student orchestral program this fall. The ensemble hit the ground running and hasn't stopped, including in its first busy semester a side-by-side workshop and performance with the Sunderman Strings of Gettysburg College; conducting and ear-training master classes with guest conductor Jeffrey Lang (Associate Principal Horn of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Principal Horn of the American Symphony Orchestra); and its inaugural concert on Saturday, December 15, played to a full-house in the Music School's Concert Hall.

"The importance of this first concert was enormous," notes DYSO Music Director Simeone Tartaglione, "because it set a standard for the ensemble and sent a message to area young musicians about how we cultivate talent and excellence through fun, hard work, sectionals, special activities and a steadfast commitment to music."

Much more is planned ahead for this talented group of 45 young musicians, says Tartaglione. "In 2013, we'll gear up for another exciting semester, which will include a Spring Concert in April; instruction from special guests Jonathan Carney (concertmaster of the Baltimore Symphony) and Maestro Julien Benichou (Music Director of the Mid-Atlantic Symphony); as well as exclusive performance opportunities at Grand Opera House and St. Anthony's Italian Festival, both in June. It's a heavy schedule, but a very exciting one - artistically and educationally - for the students and for me."

Although this ensemble's focus is in orchestral performance, it also teaches its young members about collaboration, friendship and better musicianship overall. The fun yet educational atmosphere fostered by Tartaglione is one of the cornerstones of the program. "One of the best ways to make new friends is by playing together, he notes. "Our young musicians can play and learn in a group that's like family while they receive valuable coaching, inspiration and mentoring from noted professional artists."

The DYSO program is one of the area's premier orchestral experience for young musicians - indeed, the only one of its kind in our area - offered by The Music School of Delaware. In this large ensemble, students enjoy the unique opportunity to study and perform in a supportive, motivational, healthy musical environment. The DYSO experience provides:

• Monthly sectionals (strings, winds, brass, percussion) led by coaches from the Music School and major East Coast orchestras;

• Professional guest conductors from renowned institutions;

• Exclusive performance opportunities for orchestra members;

• Free conducting master classes and ear-training exercises;

• Maybe even some Italian language lessons!

All principal positions will be reopened for next semester. Blind auditions for current and new DYSO members will be held Saturday, January 5, from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m.; Saturday, January 12, from 11:30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. and Saturday, January 19, from 11:30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m., all at The Music School of Delaware. Audition requirements include: scales (or 1 scale and 1 arpeggio) in 2 keys of choice; Up to 2 solo pieces demonstrating contrasting styles (no accompaniment or memorization required); and sight-reading. For more information, call the school's Wilmington location at 762-1132.