“Since most of the students at our school are low income, and the neighborhoods surrounding the school are also, raising money for a big trip like this for our entire orchestra is very challenging. We are truly grateful for all of the support given to make this trip possible for us.”

– Caleb, student cellist

“I felt blessed to have the opportunity to go to Newport at a low cost. I was very excited to travel with the group and explore a new city. It was my first time going to Newport. I enjoyed performing with a huge number of players, visiting the beach and seeing the aquarium. Field trips, especially to places outside of Salem, are always a great chance to explore new places that we might not have a chance to go to on our own.”

– Cynthia, student violinist

“I believe that this Festival was a really amazing opportunity and experience – it brought us together as an orchestra, it inspired me to practice more and increase my skills and the whole time myself and others were having fun!!! Thank you for such a wonderful Festival!!!”

– Sophie, student violinist

“I loved how much I improved in such a short time. I was starting to not enjoy playing my instrument and attending the Festival made my attitude toward it to do a 180.”

– Kevin, student bassist

“I would like to thank you for making this thing a thing. It was really cool experience and I wish I could live it again but sadly I am a senior. I hope you guys will get to continue on and give wonderful experiences to many more high schools to come!”

– Hector, student cellist

“This trip to Newport meant a lot to me because it was my first time going to Newport. It was an unforgettable experience because we got to perform with other schools and watch a professional orchestra. In my opinion the clinics were the most important part of the experience because we got feedback that will help us improve as an ensemble and as individual musicians.”

– Tania, student, violinist

“I felt very lucky to be going on this trip. From the perspective of both a student and a future music educator, the idea of having so many talented musicians playing together and having this experience was exciting to me. I loved meeting new players and seeing what music education has done for them. It was also a great opportunity to learn from other student orchestras and professional orchestras. I am so glad that this event was made possible.”

– Shae, student violist

“I really enjoyed the clinics, because each clinician gave us different tips that really helped us make our music have better tone and more expression.”

– Justin, student cellist

“I am expecting to come back in 15 years to be a guest conductor.”

– Maria, student violist

“It opened an opportunity to get closer with my orchestra and teacher by performing our music in a foreign, safe, and incredible space.”

– Florencia, student violinist

“I loved rehearsing in the big group with all the orchestras. I think it really helped me listen to each part and combining all of us together to put our talent out there was amazing. I think we sounded incredible and powerful!”

– Alejandro, student bassist

“I felt that the clinicians were amazing at doing their job. The prestige of the conductors was very impressive and made the festival a lot more of a learning environment.”

– John, student cellist

“To me, this Newport trip was a chance for us to learn some new skills that we can apply to our music. Also, it gave us a chance to meet some new people and make new friends. Thank you for making this trip possible.”

– Makayla, student bassist

“I loved working in clinics because the quality of the clinicians was so high. I learned so much in an hour working with them and it gave me a totally new outlook on tone quality and my role in a symphony.”

– Thomas, student violist

“Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity!! I will never forget it as long as I live!! Easily the highlight of my year!!”

– Monica, student cellist

“I just wanted to say thank you so much for putting together such an amazing opportunity, I really enjoyed getting to work with Dr. Reason again this year and getting to know the other composers virtually even during a time like this. I’m so thankful to have been a part of this again and it was really inspiring for me as a composer to get to hear others’ work, and I’ve also started thinking about continuing composing in college as a possible double major after talking to Dr. Reason! Thank you so much, I had so much fun and am excited to keep writing.”

– Koharu, student composer

“I wanted to thank you for providing this opportunity for us young composers to showcase our work; this symposium has been a great way for me to see other people’s music and to hear their stories. This was a valuable experience that I will never forget. Thank you so much!”

– Ryan, student composer

“The Symposium was a really special experience and I learned a lot from Dr. Reason!! I’ve been trying to incorporate a lot of the new techniques into my newer pieces and I think my composing style has improved a lot. It’s taken my pieces in a new direction I never thought about going to and I’m really excited to keep composing and working on expanding my ideas.”

– Joanne, student composer


“As the director of a Title 1 school orchestra program, I am so very thankful that this one-of-a-kind orchestra festival exists in our area. Our students benefited from wonderful educational clinics, a chance to perform in a splendid hall, an opportunity to learn from other orchestra programs in Oregon, and all while we stayed in scenic Newport. To top it off, we could afford to come, because the only expense was transportation.”

– Larry Garrett, Orchestra Director

“Our experience at the Festival has been nothing short of outstanding both years we have attended. The experience that the students get with the clinicians is so valuable to their musical development. The absolute best thing about the festival, though, is the relationships students are able to build with other high school orchestra musicians from around the state. There is a camaraderie by the end of the weekend that is so inspiring to take into the rest of our year together.”

– Georgi Muggli, Orchestra Director

“This festival has changed my orchestra! The workshops and large group experience inspired them to practice and ask more of themselves as musicians. The clinicians at this festival taught at a very high-level; my orchestras were astonished by the experience of playing with over 100 other kids. The Newport community really came together to offer this experience to these young musicians. The schedule was well organized and allowed our group time to plan our own fun and educational activities around the town like museums, nature walks, lighthouses, and other quintessential Newport activities.”

– Mrs. Anna Mersereau, Orchestra Director

“We are so thankful that a group of dedicated music lovers has rallied the Newport community to host high school string orchestras from across Oregon! I have never heard of an event like this in almost 20 years of teaching. I was thrilled with the opportunity for my students to experience beautiful music and beautiful beaches.”

– Jim Charnholm, Orchestra Director

“The Newport Orchestra Festival was a great event for my Chamber Orchestra to attend.  We had a blast meeting new orchestra friends and extending our orchestra family to others in the state of Oregon. It was fun to see some of those same groups in Corvallis a couple weeks later at the OSAA State Orchestra Competition. Our work with the two clinicians was very helpful to me and my students and we very much enjoyed hearing all our new friends perform in the concerts both nights. We loved working on the Bloch and Newbold pieces in combined rehearsals as it was a perfect finale for the weekend performances. Team building at the aquarium and on the beach was an added bonus as we often do not get to experience down/free time together as a group. We are definitely interested in attending in the future.”

– Mrs. Krista DeBolt, Orchestra Director

I wanted to thank you for providing this opportunity for us young composers to showcase our work; this symposium has been a great way for me to see other people’s music and to hear their stories. This was a valuable experience that I will never forget. Thank you so much!” Ryan


“In this challenging time, coming together with the students from the Composers’ Symposium to exchange musical ideas, stylistic practices, and original compositions has been incredibly rewarding and inspiring. My hope is that more young people in the state of Oregon have the opportunity to not only create but to share with and learn from their peers, communities, and audiences.

Through the exploration of new compositional styles, instrumental techniques, and genre studies as well as taking exploratory risks, this passionate cohort has not only developed their individual voices as emerging composers, but created the start of a dynamic cultural fabric.”

– Dr. Dana Reason, Assistant Professor of Contemporary Music and coordinator of Popular Music Studies at Oregon State University

“What a gift for young orchestra musicians to have some days away from home to devote entirely to music and to each other. The high school programs receive a great boost from this intense work, making strides in both music-making and in team-building, and bring home treasured memories of a musical weekend at the coast.”

– Dr. Adam Flatt, Music Director/Lead Clinician


“Seeing firsthand how our donation made this experience possible for so many young people is something I won’t soon forget. It was incredible to see the way the students interacted with the community, the conductors and each other. It was also amazing to see each school play independently and then all come together to perform as a group. I look forward to next year!”

– Lisa Westerman, Branch Manager, Umpqua Bank, Newport