2017–2018 Board Members

President: Karen Lundmark Holmes
Secretary: Amy Skemp
Treasurer: Holly Duevel
Past President: Pat Krueger
Directors At Large: Bonnie Gainsley & Julie Haight-Curran
Director Emeritus: David Colwell
Committee Chairs
Competition: Judy Ranheim & Mariellen Jacobson
Volunteer Coordinator: Alice Cederberg
School Programs: Rolf Erdahl
Publicity: Karen Koepp
Membership: Kay Simo
Development & Musical Mentors: Karen Lundmark Holmes
Hospitality: Marjorie Frishberg & Clare Zupetz

Questions or comments for the Young People's Symphony Concert Association? Complete the form below. For your privacy, this will NOT include you in our e-mail list.

You are also welcome to join the YPSCA e-mail list – it’s one of the best ways to receive up-to-date information and news. Sign up here.

Contact YPSCA

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You may also write us at this address:

YPSCA President
Orchestra Hall
1111 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403

We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at concerts and events!

All YPSCA members are encouraged to engage with our programs and to attend Young People’s Concerts and additional concerts by the Minnesota Orchestra. YPSCA members also receive invitations to our Annual Meeting and other special events throughout the year, often with wonderful music: a fall luncheon, a December martini party, the SMA finals, an appreciation reception and an annual spring luncheon.

Joining YPSCA and supporting its programs is easy: just print, complete and mail this form. You can also feel good knowing that all membership fees and gifts in support of programs go directly to further YPSCA’s mission: sharing with young people a deep appreciation of classical music and encouraging their engagement with the Minnesota Orchestra.

Download Membership Form

YPSCA Committees and Volunteer Opportunities

YPSCA offers many opportunities to help. Use our Membership/Donation Form to let us know what interests you the most, or contact us.

YP Volunteer Usher Program

Members serve as volunteer ushers for Young People’s concerts, helping professional staff guide students and teachers in and out of Orchestra Hall, making them feel welcome and providing a friendly public face for the Minnesota Orchestra.

Volunteer Usher Information

Musical Mentors

Members help identify and select school districts to receive YPSCA support, based on economic need, enabling their students to participate in Young People Concerts. Additional responsibilities: preparing an annual budget for board approval that includes tickets, buses and an in-school educational program, and maintaining the Musical Mentor donor records and database. 

Musical Mentors Information

School Music Audition Competition

Members plan and carry out all aspects of the annual competition, including recruiting talented young participants, judges and volunteers, securing venues and managing all stages of the competition.

School Music Audition Competition Information

Special Projects

Members help with candy sales to raise funds at movie-themed concerts or with other projects as appropriate.


Members plan fundraising efforts for all programs and coordinate donor appreciation. They cultivate relationships with donors and potential donors and advocate on behalf of the Young People’s Symphony Concert Association. 


Members plan and coordinate membership drives and work to help make members feel welcome and engaged. 


Members assist in the financial planning and reporting for YPSCA, helping assure the continuing fiscal health and services of our organization.


Members of this committee plan and coordinate receptions and recognition events and oversee arrangements for member events and social gatherings, including food and settings. 


Members plan and coordinate promotion of YPSCA activities and purposes to the Membership and the larger community. They work through publications of the Orchestra and local communities, the YPSCA website and other potential media. Photographers welcome!

YPSCA volunteer ushers perform an important task, greeting and welcoming entire busloads of students as they enter Orchestra Hall, full of excitement for the Young People’s Concert they are about to attend. YPSCA ushers work closely with the Orchestra Hall staff and professional ushers to ensure that each school or homeschool group entering the lobby is led to the correct door of the concert auditorium, sometimes after being directed to particular staircases to reach the balconies, and then escorted swiftly and smoothly to their seats in the various sections of the concert hall.

This may sound simple, but consider that on most days two Young People’s Concerts are performed. More than a thousand students are welcomed and guided to their seats for the first performance. Then, within only about 30 minutes, the first audience is escorted out and the second is greeted and seated. This process involves some amazing choreography, and YPSCA ushers are key to keeping it moving smoothly.

YPSCA volunteer ushers can attend the Young People’s Concerts for which they volunteer. In addition, they receive discounted and/or complimentary tickets to Minnesota Orchestra concerts after completing multiple shifts. Of course, they share immediately in the thrill the students feel at each Young People’s Concert – full of anticipation when they enter Orchestra Hall, fascination as they attend the concert and still more excitement when they talk about it after the concert. This is why many ushers volunteer year after year.

Please join our dedicated YPSCA usher team. Learn more about becoming a YPSCA usher and sign up here.

Read about this season’s Young People’s Concerts.

A Music Competition for Talented Students

YPSCA holds an exciting annual concerto competition, called the School Music Auditions (SMA), for students in grades 7 through 12 who are skilled at playing orchestral instruments or piano, and who are enrolled full-time in an accredited school in Minnesota or other Upper Midwest locations. Each contestant prepares a portion of a major work, such as a concerto movement, to perform from memory. At the Preliminary Auditions, performances are judged by experts in each area: strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion and keyboard.

Contestants who advance to the Finals will all ultimately receive a cash prize or scholarship; in a typical year, the total value of these prizes is more than $7,000. But only one finalist will claim the top prize – $1,500 plus the most coveted award of all, the opportunity to perform as soloist with the Minnesota Orchestra at a Young People’s Concert the following year. For the Finals, held on the Orchestra Hall stage, YPSCA welcomes members of the public to attend and to witness the riveting performances of these extraordinary young musicians.

Hard-working YPSCA volunteers carry out myriad tasks to ensure that the competition is a success from start to finish. They prepare announcements, review applications, select judges, handle registration, escort contestants to their warm-up and audition rooms, announce and time the performances, organize hospitality – and much more. If you’d like to be involved, contact us here, and join in the thrill of working with young musicians who make the SMA a highlight of the musical season!

Finalists, all prizewinners, of the 2017 competition

The 2018 School Music Auditions

For the 61st annual SMA, applications are due by Monday, December 4, along with a non-refundable application fee of $50. Download complete guidelines (pdf) and apply now! The Preliminary Competition will take place on Saturday, February 17, and the Finals on Sunday, February 25, both at Orchestra Hall.

Apply now

Kudos to Our Past Winners


In January 2017, when YPSCA presented its 60th annual School Music Auditions, the top winner was Nygel Witherspoon, a 15-year-old cellist from Minneapolis who performed the first movement of Dvořák’s Cello Concerto. Witherspoon, a 10th-grader at Connections Academy, won the $1,500 award from the Edwin and Edith Norberg Fund and a chance to appear as soloist with the Minnesota Orchestra at Young People’s Concerts the next season — in “The Color of Music” programs in October 2017 and May 2018. He also won the Claire Givens Award, a grant of $600, for giving the highest-ranked performance by a string player. Witherspoon’s cello teacher is David Holmes of St. Louis Park.


In January 2016, a clarinetist took home the highest SMA prize. Anders Peterson, then a sophomore at Northfield High and a student of Dr. Jun Qian, chose Weber’s Concertino for Clarinet for his winning performance. In addition to his monetary award, he earned the privilege of performing with the Minnesota Orchestra at a Young People’s Concert in February 2017.


The 2015 winner was pianist Zhen Tu, then a 10th-grader at Eagan High School, who was the featured soloist with the Minnesota Orchestra at Young People’s Concerts in October 2015 and February 2016.

Here are all the talented performers who have won the School Music Auditions in the past.