Tennessee Youth Symphony
101 Creekside Crossing
Suite 1700-330
Brentwood TN 37027
Veterans Day Tribute at the Nashville War Memorial
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 Dr. Donna Scudder
Board Chair Company Affiliation Heritage Medical Associates
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 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 in their free time. 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  orchestra 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 students received more individual instruction and interaction with the teacher. The middle school aged group of intermediate players, Prelude Strings,  performed 2 concerts as well, and also performed a concert for an 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 Junior Orchestra 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 Orchestra violinists. 
We continue he 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 2016-2017 season boasts a 100 member full youth orchestra, 50 member junior orchestra and 15 member jazz ensemble.
We continue to work with local businesses to donate and with our families to donate.  On our favorite fundraising events is our live and silent auction. 
Financial needs include ...
$12,000   Staffing:  to fund a part-time Executive Director
$12,000   Staffing:  to fund a part-time Assistant to the Conductors
$14,700   Venues: rehearsal and performance
$6,000      Jazz Rock Band sponsor
$6,000      Scholarships for regular programming and small ensemble experiences
$5,000      Travel support to tour a major US city
$3,000      Sectional Instruction for Full and String orchestras
$4,000      Concerto competition  
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 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 Orchestra performed in the community 4 times this season. They were invited to perform a concert at the Schermerhorn Symphony Free Day of Music, planned and performed a Veterans Day program at the War Memorial Auditorium that incorporated veterans from Middle Tennessee, and gave a seasonal concert in December and May. The Junior Orchestra performed 2 major concerts in conjunction with the Youth Orchestra.

We started a sectional program for both orchestras during which the various instrument sections spent 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 this program during the next season.

We continued the Jazz Ensemble which grew this year.  They performed at Belmont University and made a recording at the end of the season.  Our string and woodwind ensembles performed as well.

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 Williamson County Youth Orchestra, 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.

Donna Scudder
Tennessee Youth Symphony
President, Board of Directors  
Board of WCYO-President
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 orchestra has grown to a full instrumentation 100 member orchestra. Our younger group of intermediate players, Prelude Strings,  has 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. 
Donna Scudder
President, Board of Directors


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 Orchestra is invited to perform at many community events including the Nashville Symphony’s Free Day of Music at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Our musicians have recorded at Historic Studio A, as well as, Ocean Way Studios. Many of our youth orchestra musicians choose to participate in a number of TYS small ensembles made up of strings, woodwinds, brass or our Jazz/Rock Ensemble.

Travel opportunities are also available to Youth Orchestra members. The youth orchestra has traveled to Chicago to participate in clinics at Northwestern University, toured the city sites, and attended a performance by The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a truly amazing experience. In 2014, they traveled to New York City where they participated in a Broadway clinic rehearsal, visited Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, toured Carnegie Hall, visited attractions throughout the city, and saw Les Miserables on Broadway.

In 2015, the Youth Orchestra honored our Veterans by performing a Veterans Tribute Concert on Sunday, November 9th at the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville, TN.

 In 2016-2017 the orchestra performed at Belmont University and at Lipscomb University, along with additional special performances. 
Budget 30,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Music Instruction
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years), Children and Youth (0 - 19 years), Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Short Term Success
Long term Success
Program Success Monitored By

   The success of our various WCYO 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 form is provided at concerts that provides 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 Orchestra 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 K-12 (5-19 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 Dr. Donna Scudder
Company Affiliation Heritage Medical Associates
Term June 2014 to June 2018
Email donna.scudder@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 2
Female 7
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
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 upon 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 have 4 new board members that started this season for a total of 7 members. 
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

Our newest 4 board members are transitioning well and becoming more engaged. 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, 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 Year201620152014
Program Expense$63,171$51,569$39,014
Administration Expense$0$23,088$25,112
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.070.991.09
Program Expense/Total Expenses100%69%58%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$48,016$40,473$41,813
Current Assets$48,016$40,473$50,719
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$17,672
Current Liabilities$10,567$7,636$17,672
Total Net Assets$37,449$32,836$33,046
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities4.545.302.87
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%42%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountProgram Revenue $44,695Program Revenue $51,922Program Service Revenue $52,289
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, Gifts and Grants $15,547Contributions, Gifts, and Grants $18,240Contributions, Gifts, Grants $13,951
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFundraising Events $7,316Fundraising Events $3,963Fundraising Events $7,162
Audit Documents
Capital Campaign
Is the organization currently conducting a Capital Campaign for an endowment or the purchase of a major asset? Anticipated In 3 Years
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit
TN Charitable Solicitations Registration Yes - Expires Dec 2017
Organization Comments
Our budget for 2017-2018 is still in the works.  We must wait until we have a more accurate number of student participants before we can finalize our budget.  We hope to have this information by mid September, 2017.
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 3/22/17.
Nonprofit Tennessee Youth Symphony
Address 101 Creekside Crossing
Suite 1700-330
Brentwood, TN 37027
Primary Phone (615) 406-4395
Contact Email president@wcyo.info
CEO/Executive Director Dr Donna Scudder
Board Chair Dr. Donna Scudder
Board Chair Company Affiliation Heritage Medical Associates
Year of Incorporation 1997
Former Names
Williamson County Youth Orchestra

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