The Alachua County Youth Orchestra, founded in 1973, is committed to fostering the community’s gifted young musicians by providing them with the opportunity to rehearse and perform orchestral music at the highest level possible. As music programs are scaled back in public schools, the ACYO helps fill this void by offering quality orchestral instruction under renowned Music Director and Conductor R. Gary Langford. Middle and high school students are admitted through competitive auditions at the beginning of the academic year. The orchestra rehearses Sunday evenings at the University of Florida under the auspices of the School of Music. Performances take place at the University of Florida Philips Center for the Performing Arts and the University Auditorium. 

The orchestra’s performance season includes Spring and Winter concerts that are free and open to the public;  a “Meet The Orchestra” concert for all  Alachua County fifth graders that gives students  an opportunity to hear a live orchestral performance in a beautiful concert hall, and the annual Holiday Traditions Concert in support of Stop! Children’s Cancer that features the orchestra with a 120 voice choir, soloists and audience participation. 

The orchestra recently participated in Festival Disney 2016 where they performed before a panel of nationally recognized judges who awarded them a Superior rating. The orchestra performed “Egmont Overture” by Beethoven, “An American Elegy” by Frank Ticheli, and “Cowboys Overture” by John Williams.  Three members of the orchestra were also selected for individual awards by the judges. This was the orchestra’s third appearance at the Orlando theme park. 

Orchestra members are recognized as high achievers in music, academics, sports, and other endeavors individually. Many have won solo and small ensemble competitions sponsored by Florida State Music Teachers Association, Florida Federation of Music Clubs, and  Florida Bandmasters Association. Several members perform as soloists, chamber musicians, and members of other community ensembles. Some members extend their music study and capabilities by attending major summer music camps and festivals. Many go on to  study at prominent schools of music and conservatories, and enjoy careers as professional musicians and music educators. 

Regular rehearsals are held at the University of Florida’s Music Building, in the Orchestra Room, number 121.  Regular rehearsal time is Sundays 5:30 to 8:00 p.m., generally September through April.

Musicians are expected to be in their seats and ready to play at 5:30; anyone arriving at 5:30 is considered late.  There will be a 20-minute break at each rehearsal during which, generally, either pizza or Minuet Meals (snacks provided by parents) will be served.

Parents may drop off their children at the Newell Drive entrance.  Parking is available in the nearby Parking Garage on Newell and Museum or behind Tigert Hall off Union Road.

Alachua County Youth Orchestra is an independent, non-profit 501(c)3