Free Toledo Symphony Youth Orchestras Concert Feb. 9

Published Tuesday, January 28, 2020 2:00 pm

On Sunday, February 9, 2020 at 4 PM at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Peristyle Theater, the Toledo Symphony Youth Orchestras (TSYO) present their second concert of the season that is free and open to the public thanks to a generous gift from Joseph and Judith Conda.

The TSYO is composed of three orchestras, the Concert Strings, Symphonic Orchestra, and Philharmonic Orchestra, each performing on Sunday afternoon’s program. TSYO solo competition winners Benjamin Kerger (percussion), Sam Kim (cello), Joshua Lyphout (cello), Owen Robinson (saxophone), and Paul Tomczak (oboe) will open the program with pre-concert music at 3:20 PM on the Peristyle stage.

Under the direction of conductors Betsy Cranston and Kathleen Schnerer, the TSYO Concert Strings will perform Richard Stephan’s Vanguard Overture, J. S. Bach’s Sleepers Wake arranged by Soon Hee Newbold, Antonio Vivaldi’s Allegro in G from Concerto for Two Guitars arranged by Arthur Frackenpohl, and Reinhold Glière’s Russian Sailor’s Dance from The Red Poppy arranged by Michael Allen.

Conductor Matthew Forte will lead the TSYO Symphonic Orchestra to perform Johannes Brahms’s Hungarian Dance No. 5 arranged by Roy Phillippe and Georges Bizet’s Carmen Suite No. 1.

To close the program on Sunday evening, TSYO artistic director and conductor Wasim Hawary will lead the TSYO Philharmonic Orchestra to perform Sergei Prokofiev’s Montagues and Capulets from Romeo and Juliet and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture Fantasy.

The Toledo Symphony Youth Orchestras present four performances each year. Upcoming performances include the TSYO’s annual Side by Side concert with the Toledo Symphony on March 22, 2020 and the TSYO Pops concert on May 10, 2020.

The Toledo Symphony Youth Orchestras Concert II will take place on Sunday, February 9, 2020 at 4 PM at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Peristyle Theater. Tickets are free and open to the public. The TSYO concerts are presented through a generous gift from Joseph and Judith Conda.

For more information, please contact Felecia Kanney, Director of Marketing for the Toledo Symphony at


As part of the core educational mission of the Toledo Symphony, the Toledo Symphony Youth Orchestras bring together over 220 of the most talented students from Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan in an atmosphere of musical excellence. Dedicated staff members and musicians work hard to give a top-quality musical education to all students regardless of financial circumstance. The Toledo Youth Orchestras have been in existence for over 65 years. Starting out as a small group of friends meeting for fun, the organization grew into what we know today.

The TSYO currently includes three orchestras: the Philharmonic, Symphonic, and Concert Strings that perform four concerts per season. The TSYO is able to serve students ages 8-18 from over 50 area schools. We aim to find a place in the orchestra where each student will be challenged to grow musically with skill-appropriate repertoire.


The Toledo Symphony Orchestra is a community-supported organization of professional musicians and teachers who deliver quality performance and music education for all.

Formed in 1943 as The Friends of Music and incorporated in 1951 as the Toledo Orchestra Association, Inc., the Toledo Symphony Orchestra (TSO) has grown from a core group of twenty-two part-time musicians to a regional orchestra that employs sixty-nine professional musicians who consider the Toledo Symphony their primary employer, as well as numerous extra players annually as repertoire demands.

On January 1, 2019, the Toledo Symphony and Toledo Ballet officially merged to form the Toledo Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA), a new non-profit organization dedicated to providing exceptional live music and dance performances and education for the region. This partnership promises to create new and invigorating programs, provide cost and revenue synergies in operations, and integrate the arts through shared educational missions.

The Toledo Symphony reaches more than 260,000 individuals annually through performances and education programs. The series concerts (Masterworks, Pops, Chamber, Mozart in the Afternoon, and Family Series) are the critical underpinning of the orchestra’s artistic mission and regularly draw people from 135 postal zip codes. Education programs, student performances, and community concerts are held in schools, neighborhood churches, performing arts centers, and community facilities throughout the region; many are offered at no charge or provided at a reduced fee to help expand participation.


Mr. Wasim Hawary, a lifelong resident of the Toledo area, received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in music from Bowling Green State University.  While at BGSU, Wasim held the position of Principal Bassist in the Philharmonia. Wasim has been teaching music in the public school system since 1998 and is currently the orchestra director at Maumee High School. He served as the Assistant Director of the TSYO from 1999-2005 and has also taught both guitar and piano at Owens Community College. Wasim returned to the TSYO in 2009 as the director of the Toledo String Sinfonietta and, just one year after his return, had the pleasure of watching the group size double and expand into the Toledo Youth Symphonic Orchestra. It is with great pleasure that Wasim has assumed the role of Artistic Director of the, now three, Toledo Symphony Youth Orchestras and conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra.

Wasim actively performs in the region with various ensembles on his main instrument, the bass. When not on stage or in classroom, Wasim also spends a great deal of time in various recording studios writing, performing, and producing all genres of music. His music has been used in Feature Films and on the USA network.  Wasim lives in Perrysburg with his wife Kristin and his three children Norah, Juni, and Gordon.


Matthew Forte is Director of Orchestral Studies and Assistant Professor of Music History at the University of Toledo, where he serves as chair of strings, conducts the UT Symphony Orchestra, and teaches courses in conducting and music history. Prior to his current appointment, Matthew was a Rasmussen Fellow at Michigan State University, where he studied with Kevin Noe and served as music director of the MSU Concert Orchestra, service for which he was awarded the 2017 MSU Distinguished Teaching Prize. During his tenure, the Concert Orchestra was revitalized: orchestra membership nearly doubled, audience attendance tripled, and the group quickly became an indispensable part of the cultural fabric of the university as a whole.

An enthusiastic supporter of young musicians, Matthew also serves as a conductor for the Toledo Symphony Youth Orchestras and for the Greater Toledo International Youth Orchestra and is in frequent demand nationally as a clinician and educator to students of all levels. In addition to his work as an educator, Dr. Forte acts as cover conductor for the St. Louis Symphony and is engaged frequently by the Aspen Music Festival and School.


Betsy Cranston is in her twelfth year as a teacher in Perrysburg Schools, where she began her career. Betsy is an orchestra director for students in grades 5-8. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she also serves as the Perrysburg Junior High Music Department Head and chair of the OMEA District 1 Junior High Honors Orchestra. She earned her undergraduate degree in music education from The Ohio State University and received her graduate degree in Curriculum and Instruction from The University of Toledo. A cellist, Betsy is a founding member of The Asteria String Quartet and performs regularly around Toledo and the surrounding area. Ms. Cranston is excited to return to the Toledo Symphony Youth Orchestras in the role of Concert Strings conductor. She resides in Toledo with her daughters Layla and Lydia.


Kathleen Schnerer is in her fifth year as an Orchestra teacher at Perrysburg Schools, where she began her career. Kathleen is currently teaching 7-8th grade orchestra at Perrysburg Junior High School. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she teaches private Suzuki lessons and group classes at the Toledo Symphony School of Music. A violinist since age three, Kathleen has studied with Vasile Beluska and Merwin Siu and performs regularly in the Northwest Ohio region. Actively involved as a member of the Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) and American String Teachers Association (ASTA), Kathleen currently serves as a chair of the OMEA District 1 Junior High Honors Orchestra, an ASTA mentor to new orchestra teachers, OMEA NW Region Secretary/Treasurer, and member of the ASTA K-12 Orchestra Committee. Kathleen graduated with honors from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education, specializing in Instrumental String and General Classroom Music Education and was a recipient of the Dr. Paul Makara Violin Scholarship. Kathleen is currently completing coursework for a Master’s degree in Music Education from the University of Michigan. Ms. Schnerer is looking forward to her second year with the Toledo Symphony Youth Orchestra Concert Strings in the role of Concert Strings conductor.

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