Tennessee Youth Symphony
101 Creekside Crossing
Suite 1700-330
Brentwood TN 37027
Free Day of Music at the Schermerhorn Oct. 21, 2017
Mission Statement

The Tennessee Youth Symphony seeks to encourage musical excellence by providing superior musical training and a variety of performance opportunities for young musicians in the Middle Tennessee region.  We believe that playing music together supports community among diversity enriching the lives of young people while encouraging a life-long love of the arts. 

CEO/Executive Director Dr Donna Scudder
Board Chair Mr. Caleb Atkinson
Board Chair Company Affiliation
History & Background
Year of Incorporation 1997
Former Names
Williamson County Youth Orchestra
Organization's type of tax exempt status 501-C3
Financial Summary
Graph: Expense Breakdown Graph - All Years
Projected Expenses $65,358.00
Projected Annual Revenue $56,800.00 (2018)

The Tennessee Youth Symphony seeks to encourage musical excellence by providing superior musical training and a variety of performance opportunities for young musicians in the Middle Tennessee region.  We believe that playing music together supports community among diversity enriching the lives of young people while encouraging a life-long love of the arts. 

In 1997 a group of parents and community leaders came together to solve a problem. A thriving community of early string programs in the Williamson County area had produced skilled musicians who, as they reached their teenage years, had nowhere to play together in an orchestral setting. Funding in the public schools did not support orchestras. The Williamson County Youth Orchestra (currently known as Tennessee Youth Symphony) was formed as a 501(C)3 not-for-profit entity to provide this opportunity. Since its inception fifteen years ago, the scope of the program has grown from the original single performance group with twenty musicians to include a variety of performance groups for school-age musicians at different levels of development, and to reach out into underserved communities in our mid-state area.
Our goal for this season was to change our name to "Tennessee Youth Symphony" since we enjoy participation from students living in at least nine counties. As of July 1st, 2017 we are now the Tennessee Youth Symphony! Our students, who are economically and racially diverse, share a common passion for music. Many participate in our "extra-curricular" ensembles. Many audition for honor groups such as the Mid-State Orchestra. Most also take private lessons on their own. These are dedicated kids who love to prepare and perform. The TYS is dedicated to providing them with a superior orchestral experience. 
During the 2016-2017 season, the Youth Symphony performed 2 community concerts with no charge at Belmont University and Lipscomb University. The students participated in weekly sectional rehearsals on a rotating basis with smaller groups of students that play the same instrument/part in the orchestra. The middle school-aged group of intermediate players, Prelude Strings,  performed 2 concerts as well, and also performed a concert for the residents of a residential living facility and participated in Arbor Day celebration at The Brentwood Library. The jazz ensemble performed its own concert at Belmont University and did a recording at Ocean Way Studio.
We held a technical skills workshop with the Prelude Strings with professional musicians leading each and teaching each section of the orchestra.  A professional violinist from The Nashville Symphony Orchestra came on a regular basis to work with our Youth Symphony violinists and to give constructive feedback and suggestions for the group as a whole. 
We continue honor our seniors and their families with a banquet at the end of each season. 
We contracted with a local CPA firm to work our organization going forward to provide accounting stability and continuity as our board members rotate off and to provide another level of security. 
The 2017-2018 season boasts a 97 member full Youth Symphony, 37 member junior orchestra we call Prelude Strings,  and a 14 member jazz ensemble.
We continue to work with local businesses and our families for donations.  One of our favorite fundraising events is our live and silent auction and our spirit nights at local eateries. 
We continue to desire to recruit more talented students to participate in our program.  We strive to continue to increase the number of guest musicians we have teaching our sectionals and helping students advance in their specific areas of music.  We also have hopes, that with adequate funding, we can provide the students with a Concerto Competition in the near future.
Financial needs include ...
$20,000  Staffing:  to fund our three conductor's expenses 
$16,000  To fund a part-time Executive director 
$11,900  Rehearsal space rental
$4,700    Performance venues
$3,000    Sectional Instruction for Full and String orchestras
Other ways to donate, support, or volunteer
Donations made by check can be mailed to our address.
In-Kind donations can be offered by contacting any board member.
Online donations can be made by clicking the Paypal link below
Opportunites to volunteer include grant writing, graphic design for annual marketing/promotional material, assisting at events, and assisting the conductors.
Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Arts,Culture & Humanities / Symphony Orchestras
Secondary Organization Category Youth Development / Youth Development Programs
Tertiary Organization Category Arts,Culture & Humanities / Music
Areas of Service
Areas Served
TN - Davidson
TN - Maury
TN - Williamson
TN - Marshall
TN - Wilson
Our primary practice venue for our large ensembles is located in northern Williamson County very close to the I-65 corridor.
We welcome students from across the mid-state area, and to date have had musicians from ten different counties participate in our programs.   Our current student population is evenly split between Davidson and Williamson counties, with a few students from Maury, Wilson, and Marshall counties as well.  As noted earlier, due to the enlarging geographic circle, we have changed the name of our organization to Tennesee Youth Symphony for the 2017-2018 season going forward.  
Board Chair Statement

As a board member for the past 3 years, I’ve seen many of our goals and objectives achieved through the collaborative efforts of board members, conductors, parent volunteers, students and community businesses/organizations. The Youth Symphony will perform a total of three community concerts this 2017-2018 season:  Two at Belmont McAfee Concert Hall and one at the Free Day of Music hosted by the Nashville Symphony at the Schermerhorn. Prelude Strings will be performing a total of two major concerts in conjunction with the Youth Symphony, and has given a community concert to residents of an area retirement facility.  We continue to look for ways to serve our Middle Tennessee Community.

We have a sectional program for both orchestras during which the various instrument sections spend time with the conductor or guest instructor to focus on their parts. We were able to obtain additional funding via grants to cover the cost of this instruction without having to charge additional tuition. The program was so well received that we hope to continue this program.

We continued the Jazz Ensemble which grew this year.  They performed at Belmont University and made a recording at the end of the 2016-2017 season.  Our string and woodwind ensembles performed as well.  This year they have performed along with Nashville State Community College a community concert. 

We look forward to planning another cultural trip to a major metropolitan area in the US to experience a workshop.

As we move forward in our growth initiatives, it is imperative that we maintain skilled personnel in order to realize and sustain our goals. It has always been a challenge to recruit new board members due to time constraints.  I hope to continue to offer many opportunities for volunteers to contribute at various levels of commitment to our organization on a regular basis. We plan to study and formulate a position for administration that assists with recruiting students and makes connections with local schools and private music teachers, helps administrate our business needs, and sustains our goals as volunteer board members rotate terms on the board of directors.

I offer my time and efforts to this organization because I believe that music, and specifically Tennessee Youth Symphony, provides community for students, encourages collaboration to achieve a goal, and challenges each student to achieve their best. Statistically, these students are more likely to perform at a higher academic level, to contribute in a meaningful way to society, and to support the arts as adults, whatever career they chose. I look forward to the coming years and I am confident that we can reach our goals through the efforts of our volunteers, parents, students, conductors, and community supporters.

CEO Statement
During my participation on the Board of Directors, I have discovered that our talented students and families come from many backgrounds, communities, and schools, yet are united in their goal to make beautiful music and to challenge themselves to continually raise the bar of excellence for their performances. Our conductors are fully dedicated to helping us achieve these goals. Our organization has been fully operated by parent volunteers, including our Board of Directors. With everyone's hard work, the youth symphony has grown to nearly a full instrumentation 100 member orchestra. Our younger group of intermediate players, Prelude Strings, has approximately 50 members, and our Jazz Ensemble has 15 members, both with expanding performance opportunities.
As we move forward in our growth initiatives, it is imperative that we maintain skilled personnel in order to realize and sustain our goals. These personnel would provide consistency as our parent volunteers move through our organization and would build lasting relationships in the community. One of our main emphases is too take music out to the community and engage with people through service. 
With students, conductors, and families working together, I am confident that we can keep our focus on providing excellent music instruction and opportunities for motivated and talented students in the Middle Tennessee area. 


The Tennessee Youth Symphony is an advanced full orchestra whose instrumentation consists of strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion, and harp. This orchestra is designed for musically talented and highly motivated high school students interested in performing a variety of repertoire including classical, contemporary, jazz, and multicultural. Throughout the season, youth orchestra musicians have the opportunity to participate in master classes and sectionals led by members of the Nashville Symphony, university professors, recording musicians, and educators.

Additional performance opportunities often present themselves outside the scheduled fall, holiday, and spring concerts. Each year the Youth Symphony is invited to perform at many community events including the Nashville Symphony’s Free Day of Music at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center and our musicians have recorded at Ocean Way Studios. 

Budget 50,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Music Instruction
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years), ,
Short Term Success
Long term Success
The TYS can provide life-changing opportunities to children through music education.  We strive to provide access to our program to all middle and high school students, regardless of ability to pay.  Our students are encouraged to study and further their music education and technical abilities, both through our program and outside of our program.  
Program Success Monitored By

The success of our various TYS programs is monitored through a variety of ways.  First, the Board of Directors strives to maintain a high level of visibility with the families of participants through face to face contact and through email.  A Director attends most if not all of the rehearsals to visit with parents and gauge satisfaction through casual conversations.  Second, Directors attending rehearsals observe the interaction between the participants, the sectional instructors and the conductor which helps to monitor the culture and climate of rehearsals.  Third, a survey opportunity is provided that allows each family the opportunity to provide feedback about their musician's experience and to offer ideas for improvement and/or development.  Feedback from all these sources is used to adjust programs as needed and to plan for the following year.

Examples of Program Success
The retention rate for the Youth Symphony program is exemplary at near 95%.  Students are dedicated and families demonstrate a willingness to drive many miles to participate in this program.  Students rarely miss rehearsals and request at times an extra rehearsal in preparation of an upcoming concert. 
The Prelude Strings group, an intermediate String Orchestra whose instrumentation consists of violin, viola, cello, and bass, is designed  for musically talented and highly motivated middle school string students. Rehearsals are weekly, September through April. students play a variety of string orchestra music, receive quality sectional training, and enjoy performing several concerts for the community each year.

Budget 20000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Music Instruction
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years), Families, General/Unspecified
Short Term Success

Examples of Program Success The Junior Orchestra program continues to draw young developing string musicians at an increasing rate.  Currently the program is at capacity and at some point it may become necessary to replicate this program in another area of Williamson County.  Students are dedicated to developing their skills and are committed to the direction of the conductor and the goals of this program.  Students rarely miss rehearsals and these families are the most consistent source of volunteers.
Participation in small ensembles is voluntary and open to all Junior and Youth Symphony students. Students have been able to participate in small ensembles with no additional fee due to grant monies awarded. This program which features a very low student to teacher ratio to further hone performance skills. The makeup of the ensembles varies from year to year depending on student interest.  Ensembles can include in any given year a String Ensemble, Woodwind Ensemble, or Brass Ensemble. 
Budget $10,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Music Instruction
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years), Families, General/Unspecified
Program Success Monitored By
CEO Comments
   The board of directors continues to develop  programs offered each year. We are working to fine tune our "feeder system" of performance groups so that there are opportunities for students at different levels of development, and a smooth transition from group to group. We work diligently to obtain additional funding through donations and grants to help us reach our goals while still maintaining an affordable program for musicians from diverse economic backgrounds. We attempt to engage students and their families with volunteerism and building a send of community. We would like to engage with our larger surrounding communities through concerts at local senior living facilities, festivals, and other community events. 
We are working on a concerto competition for the youth orchestra with  community judges and modest monetary prizes, along with the opportunity for the winner to perform with the orchestra in the spring concert. 
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Caleb Atkinson
Term Feb 2018 to June 2019
Email caleb.atkinson@tnys.org
Board Members
Mr. Caleb Atkinson Voting
Mrs. Jamie Dreussi Community VolunteerVoting
Mrs. Andrea Lamere Community VolunteerVoting
Mrs. Laura Mee Voting
Mr. Mark Nesbitt Voting
Dr. Donna Scudder Heritage Medical AssociatesVoting
Mrs. Andrea Walkup Community VolunteerVoting
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 9
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 1
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 4
Female 6
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 90%
Does the organization have written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Does the organization have a written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage of Board Members making Monetary Contributions 80%
Percentage of Board Members making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Does the Board include Client Representation? Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 14
Board CoChair
Board CoChair Mr. Mark Nesbitt
Term Feb 2018 to June 2019
Email mark.nesbitt@tnys.org
Standing Committees
CEO Comments
The TYS board of directors continues to hone the necessary management skills required to keep this organization moving forward at a healthy pace.  The Board is also focused on fostering partnerships, collaborations and community support that add value to the experiences offered to these young people. 
Currently we have a board of directors with a wide variety of professional skills and expertise and we seek to maintain that diversity.  
We contracted with an accounting firm to provide continuity in our financial reporting as members rotate on and off the board.  
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Dr Donna Scudder
Term Start Aug 1997
Email donna.scudder@tnys.org
Full Time Staff 0
Part Time Staff 0
Volunteers 30
Contractors 3
Retention Rate 100%
Plans & Policies
Does the organization have a documented Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Does the organization have an approved Strategic Plan? Yes
Number of years Strategic Plan Considers 5
When was Strategic Plan adopted? July 2015
In case of a change in leadership, is a Management Succession plan in place? Yes
Does the organization have a Policies and Procedures Plan? Under Development
Does the organization have a Nondiscrimination Policy? Yes
CEO Comments

We plan to continuously seek new board members and place in training to reduce any difficulties as board members rotate off the board.  

The board recruited several volunteers to fill key roles and the board continues to volunteer their time for routine operations.
A parent-volunteer was recruited to take photos of the orchestras at events.   Several volunteers assisted with set-up and tear-down for orchestra performances, fundraising events, snack nights, conductor support, etc.
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start July 01 2017
Fiscal Year End June 30 2018
Projected Revenue $56,800.00
Projected Expenses $65,358.00
Endowment Spending Policy N/A
Detailed Financials
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$39,763$63,171$51,569
Administration Expense$17,113$0$23,088
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates--$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.971.070.99
Program Expense/Total Expenses67%100%69%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$38,468$48,016$40,473
Current Assets$38,468$48,016$40,473
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$3,100$10,567$7,636
Total Net Assets$35,368$37,449$32,836
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities12.414.545.30
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountProgram Revenue $39,075Program Revenue $44,695Program Revenue $51,922
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, Gifts and Grants $11,895Contributions, Gifts and Grants $15,547Contributions, Gifts, and Grants $18,240
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFundraising Events $5,850Fundraising Events $7,316Fundraising Events $3,963
Audit Documents
Capital Campaign
Is the organization currently conducting a Capital Campaign for an endowment or the purchase of a major asset? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit
TN Charitable Solicitations Registration Yes - Expires Dec 2018
Solicitations Permit
2018 approval
Organization Comments
We have a growing need for part-time support staff.  In 2014-2015 the Board hired (for the first time ever) accounting support.  This cost is an additional $6,000/year.
GivingMatters.com Financial Comments
Financial figures taken from the 990.
Form 990 was prepared by Patterson, Hardee & Ballentine, PC.
Comments provided by Kathryn Bennett 2/16/18.
Nonprofit Tennessee Youth Symphony
Address 101 Creekside Crossing
Suite 1700-330
Brentwood, TN 37027
Primary Phone (615) 791-5564
Contact Email hello@tnys.org
CEO/Executive Director Dr Donna Scudder
Board Chair Mr. Caleb Atkinson
Year of Incorporation 1997
Former Names
Williamson County Youth Orchestra

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