A&B Youth Symphony Orchestra

“In 2018, I sat in the audience listening to an ABYSO concert and knew that I wanted to be on that stage one day. Today, I’m a proud ABYSO trombonist and the first musician in my family.” – Orlando Gordon

Antigua & Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra (ABYSO) brings high-quality, accessible music education and experience to young musicians and music educators throughout the island. “Inspiring and empowering youth to harness and develop musical excellence” is the mission of this talented youth symphony orchestra, and it is the first of its kind in the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean. 

Founded in 2018, the organization’s year-round, after-school programs include a junior and youth orchestra and a youth choir for young singers. More than 250 young people up to age 25 are involved in the programs, which are developed to inspire creativity, teamwork, and cooperative learning.

“Not many donors appreciate the value of the arts in building character and empowering young people. The Mill Reef Fund is a donor that does, and their support over the years has helped us transform the lives of dozens of young people on Antigua and Barbuda.”

– Karen-Mae Hill, High Commissioner

The organization loans instruments to youth in its programs, a service that 95% of the orchestra members take advantage of. Musicians commit to a weekly curriculum that includes lessons in music theory, chamber music, and specialized training for their chosen instrument. They must also attend weekly sectional and full orchestra rehearsals. Moreover, their place in the orchestra is anything but guaranteed, as they must audition for their seat every year.

ABYSO also offers a Train the Trainers program for local music tutors. As a result, every instrument has at least one dedicated tutor trained specifically for that purpose. They’ve even initiated an instrument repair training program—particularly important given the challenges instruments face in a tropical climate.