Youth Symphony Board Anticipates 2018-19 Season

At their August meeting, the board of the Chautauqua Regional Youth Symphony (CRYS) looked forward to the upcoming season and welcomed new members and their new orchestra manager. Pictured (from left) are new board members Emily Paterniti, Mariana Mathewson, Nina Karbacka, Audrey Ralston and orchestra manager Tim Pryzbelinski. All serious music students are invited to apply to participate in one of CRYS’s three orchestras. Submitted photo

With the addition of new members, the Chautauqua Regional Youth Symphony board is making some changes to the way it operates.

“We are taking some leaps into new territory,” said Nancy Larson, symphony board president, “with some great opportunities for our students!”

Larson said the application process is being simplified, with students and parents applying directly instead of having to be recommended by their teachers. Teachers will instead be consulted for guidance on placing applicants into one of the symphony’s three orchestras. Membership is open to all students from Chautauqua County and surrounding counties who play an orchestral instrument: strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion. The highlight of the season will be the Spring Gala Concert May 19, 2019, in Chautauqua Institution’s Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall, perhaps the premier performance hall in the region.

Part of the preparation for the new season includes planning enrichment experiences. Chautauqua Regional Youth Symphony students will have opportunities to attend several of orchestra-related performances offered in the area.

The youth symphony is also seeking additional performance opportunities for its ensembles, such as at civic organization meetings and for holiday programs.

Rehearsals begin Saturday, Sept. 29, for String Chamber Orchestra, the advanced ensemble of highly qualified and motivated string, wind and percussion players in high school and college (playing levels IV, V and VI). Rehearsals begin in January for Prelude Strings, the beginning string players (level I), and Young Artists Orchestra of intermediate musicians (levels II and III). All rehearsals are at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Lakewood, with the Prelude Strings practicing Friday afternoons and the Young Artists Orchestra and String Chamber on Saturdays.

Music students who are interested in participating in a Chautauqua Regional Youth Symphony orchestra can complete an online application at Applicants’ teachers will be contacted for placement into one of the orchestras.

To participate in the advanced String Chamber Orchestra this fall, applications must be submitted by Wednesday, Sept. 19.

Bryan Eckenrode, cellist and conductor, is music director and conductor for all three CRYS orchestras. His conducting, performing and recording background includes conducting the Warren Philharmonic and Amherst Symphony Orchestras and serving as principal cellist with the Western New York Chamber Orchestra and the Southern Tier Symphony.

Assisting Eckenrode this season are Marie Karbacka, Prelude Strings coach, and Cody Hiller, string coach. Karbacka is director of orchestras for fifth through 12th grades at Southwestern Central Schools and was a long-time Chautauqua Regional Youth Symphony musician. Hill is violin instructor at Infinity Visual and Performing Arts, plays in the Southern Tier Symphony and the Western New York Chamber Orchestra, and serves as concertmaster of the Warren Philharmonic.

Also a former Chautauqua Regional Youth Symphony student, Tim Przybelinski left the organization’s board to become its orchestra manager. Beginning in the fall he will be the computer lab assistant at Falconer Central Schools while working with the combined Falconer/Frewsburg Marching Band. He plays with the Jamestown Municipal Band and Chautauqua Big Band Swing.

Attending their first meeting as new CRYS board members in August were Nina Karbacka, Mariana Mathewson, Emily Paterniti and Audrey Ralston.

With a masters degree in music education from the State University at Fredonia, Nina Karbacka founded the Chautauqua Regional Youth Symphony — then the Jamestown Orchestra of Youth — in 1986. She taught strings for Jamestown Public Schools and is teaching students of all ages at Suzuki at Lutheran as well as serving on the Jamestown Public Schools Board of Education and the board of the Western New York Chamber Orchestra.

Mathewson is a graduate of Mercyhurst University with a degree in music education with concentrations in cello and composition. She lives in Mayville and maintains an active studio of piano and cello students in addition to freelancing in the area.

Paterniti is a SUNY Fredonia graduate, earning a bachelor’s degree in public relations communications and a bachelor’s degree in arts administration with an applied music minor. A Lakewood resident, she was a Chautauqua Regional Youth Symphony student and works seasonally as a sales and support specialist supervisor at Chautauqua Institution.

Ralston is a parent of two, one of whom has been a Chautauqua Regional Youth Symphony student for two years. Living in Jamestown, she works for Eagle Systems and has extensive volunteer fundraising experience, including Chautauqua Music’s Christmas for Kids.

In addition to Larson, continuing board members are Michelle Battaglia, Kathy Geary, Lana Huston and Marie Karbacka.

For more information about the Chautauqua Regional Youth Symphony, including tuition rates, email,or visit