St. Cecilia Music Center's School of Music Ramps Up for the New Season

By: Aug. 29, 2016
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Grand Rapids, MI -- Hundreds of past and present students from elementary school level through senior aged adults agree that at St. Cecilia Music Center (SCMC) "Music Lives Here". The School of Music programs at SCMC are where musical interests and instruction for all age levels grow and thrive. SCMC's School of Music classes provide training and experience in everything from rock-n-roll to orchestras and bands, music clubs and jazz ensembles.

Starting in September, students with an interest in music are encouraged to try out for SCMC's School of Music programs. Auditions for School of Music programs will be held on September 8 from 4 - 6:30 pm. Parents and students can call SCMC's School of Music Education Director Martha Cudlipp for more information at 616-459-2224 (ext. 206). More information about the auditions are online at

Dedicated music teachers from the West Michigan Community help to provide the quality musical training that SCMC has become known for generations.

One example is Erin DeYoung, who will be joining the SCMC's School of Music faculty in September as the new conductor for the Sinfonia Orchestra, an entry-level string orchestra for beginners.

DeYoung herself had her first community orchestra experience in middle school as a student of SCMC's School of Music program. She says, "I'm excited to come back to St. Cecilia Music Center as a conductor. It's great to have a resource like the School of Music where kids get a wonderful education and expand their training beyond their school program. Through this program, students from different schools get to meet one another and develop a bond while achieving common goals together through the experience of music making."

DeYoung holds both a bachelor's and master's degree in music education from Calvin College. Her professional music education experience includes directing the orchestras at Calvin Christian High School for nine years. She currently teaches in the Rockford Public Schools where she founded the district's orchestra program in 2014.

DeYoung's interest in music started at age three when she saw a violinist performing on Sesame Street. After that, she repeatedly asked her parents for a violin. Finally, at the age of four her grandparents bought her her first violin, and she's been playing ever since. Now as an adult, as well as being a music teacher, she also performs with a quartet, with the Calvin College Community Symphony, and other orchestras and events in West Michigan.

DeYoung adds, "Teachers recommend St. Cecilia Music Center for their great music program to help support their efforts in the schools. St. Cecilia Music Center also gives kids, who don't have a school music program, a chance to expand their musical interests and talents."

According to scientific research, the study of music has been shown to nurture the creative and artistic aptitude of young people. Music education also helps build family and community values and focuses children on hard work, self-esteem, cooperation and the joy of achievement.

St. Cecilia Music Center School of Music Programs offer a unique opportunity for students Grades 3 - 12 to practice, perform and perfect their instrument of choice. Students also have the opportunity to work with professional musicians from the West Michigan area in rehearsals.

Youth Music Programs at SCMC

Sinfonia Orchestra

An advanced entry-level string orchestra including beginners to the elements of teamwork and ensemble performance. Rehearsals are on Mondays from 5:30 - 6:45 pm with Conductor Erin DeYoung. Sinfonia Orchestra's new season starts on Monday, September 12, 2016.

Concert Orchestra

A preparatory string ensemble for intermediate students with moderate ensemble experience. Rehearsals are on Mondays from 6 - 7:30 pm with Conductor Becky Bush. Concert Orchestra's new season starts on Monday, September 12, 2016.

Philharmonic Orchestra

An advanced orchestra, complete with strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion, playing challenging works from classical, musical and film scores. Rehearsals are Mondays from 7:15 - 9:15 pm. The new season starts on Monday, September 12, 2016.

Concert Band

An advanced middle school wind, brass and percussion ensemble for students grades 6 - 9 focusing on mostly traditional band music and challenging works by local musicians. Rehearsals are Tuesdays from 7 - 8:30 pm with Conductor Cullen McCarthy. The new season starts onTuesday, September 13, 2016.

Jazz Combo and Jazz Band

Participants are divided into beginner / intermediate Jazz Combo or Advanced Level Jazz Band focusing on jazz repertoire and improvisation for winds, strings, piano, bass, guitar and drums. Jazz Combo rehearsals are on Tuesdays from 6 - 7:30 pm with Dr. Robin Connell. Jazz Band Rehearsals are Tuesdays from 7:30 - 9 pm with Dr. Paul Brewer. Both the Jazz Combo and Jazz Band's new season start on Tuesday, November 1, 2016.

Adult Music Programs at SCMC provide a life enriching and educational opportunity for adult amateur musicians of varying abilities to enjoy the experience of making music in an ensemble setting.

Grand Band

Grand Band performs a variety of music including classical, Broadway and pop. Rehearsals are Mondays from 9:30 - 11:30 am. New students can begin in September 2016. No Auditions are needed.

Grand String Orchestra

The Grand String Orchestra welcomes violin, viola, cello and double bass players from near-beginner to intermediate level. The emphasis is on having fun and learning classical and popular music together in an informal and non-competitive atmosphere. The orchestra focuses on ensemble skills and developing general musical and string skills. It is also an opportunity to meet other adult string players and to make great music together. Rehearsals are Wednesdays from 5:15 - 6:45 pm with Conductor Cyndi Betts. New students can begin in September 2016. No Auditions are needed.

Learn more about programs, pricing and other information about SCMC School of Music Programs at


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