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Our Director / Conductor

The Valley Youth Orchestra is pleased to have Ms. Debra TenNapel as our Director/Conductor. Ms. TenNapel has served admirably in this position since July of 2011.

Debra TenNapel

The Valley Youth Orchestra, which began in January 1999 (see brief listing of conductors below), provides a rich orchestral experience for young string musicians from Western Colorado's Uncompahgre Valley (Montrose, Ouray, and Delta Counties), North Fork of Delta County (Paonia, Hotchkiss and Crawford) and the Grand Valley (Grand Junction, Fruita and Clifton).

vyo concertThe Valley Youth Orchestra is a board-run, 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The mission is to provide young string musicians the opportunity to experience the joys and challenges of orchestral rehearsals and performances in a nurturing environment. In addition, we strive to provide small groupings for community nursing and assisted living homes as well as performing at local schools through our Strings in School program and at various service organization gatherings.

The Valley Youth Orchestra is actually three string orchestras in one.

  • The Concertino I Orchestra is comprised of beginner students
  • The Philharmonic II Orchestra is comprised of intermediate students
  • The Symphonic III Chamber Orchestra is comprised of the more advanced students.

All three groupings are supported by youth players from the more advanced groups and adult mentors from the Valley Symphony Orchestra. The Valley Youth Orchestra meets and performs primarily on the Western Slope of Colorado, but has members coming from all over the Western Slope. Currently we have members from four counties - namely, Ouray, Mesa, Montrose and Delta Counties. We hope YOU will consider joining us!

Valley Youth Orchestra Hits the Road!

MAY 5-7, 2017

We have done lots of travel up and down The Western Slope throughout the years with our popular “Strings in Schools” program -- including this past December.  Some previous members of the VYO even traveled to Australia early in this century with Janice Walker as Conductor to perform with the Sydney Youth Symphony Orchestra. A few years later, a group of VYO members performed with Dr. Ken Todd's Western State College orchestra in Gunnison when he was also our Conductor. So performing outside of the Western Slope area is "in our blood" as opportunities and finances present themselves.

But now we are gearing up for a first-ever performance trip to The Front Range May 5-7, 2017.

It has been an honor to be included in the prestigious “Music in the Parks,” a nationwide program that is held in the Denver area for Colorado-based youth orchestras and other arts performance groups who qualify.  The VYO has qualified two symphonic groups: one comprised of high schoolers and the other is a mix of both elementary and middle school musicians. The VYO qualified two symphonic groups, one comprised of high schoolers and the other is a mix of both elementary and middle school grades. This is a wonderful opportunity to broaden our horizons under the scrutiny of competition and judges, as well as bonding as a group through spirited travel, Denver-area tour sites and a fun day at Elitch Gardens!

We have a strong commitment from nearly every VYO member to represent us on this trip. There is a great deal of fundraising needed and this is your chance to help create this opportunity for the children. Thank you for your support!

To donate, click on the gofundme button on the right. As an alternative, you can mail a check to P.O. Box 274 Delta CO 81416 to make your contribution. As you see fit, you may also present all or part of this trip information on your own social media connection of your choice.

Note: Our annual Dinner Concert this March has provided some extra funding for the trip but much of the proceeds of that concert are included in our general budget as a non-profit organization.

Payment options:

  • One payment of $250 paid at the first rehearsal for the Season provides a $10 discount for you
  • One payment of $260 paid after the first rehearsal but before the Fall concert
  • Three payments of $90 in Sept, Dec, and March
  • Work out a different payment schedule with the Orchestra Manager
  • For families with more than one VYO student, the Season fee is reduced to $200 or $70 per Trimester for each new family member.

The Registration/Tuition/Fee includes tuition for rehearsals and concerts, and helps cover miscellaneous and budgeted expenses such as salaries for Director/Conductor and Orchestra Manager, music licenses, music copies, some instrument repairs, etc. Other funds are raised through grants, donations, and our yearly Dinner Concert and Silent Auction.

Additional $50 per Family:  The VYO Board has chosen to implement a $50 deposit per family which can be earned back with a minimum of six Volunteer Hours logged in by family members.  The deposit is due at Registration and will be reimbursed in June if the Volunteer Hours have been logged by the end of the third concert.  The VYO Vice President will act as Volunteer Coordinator and will record Volunteer Hours for each family.

Please make sure you have registered first, then you can Pay tuition with this button.

*On the next screen you will enter the amount of tuition you have chosen to pay based on the list above.

youth auditionsAuditions are in August.

What to prepare for Auditions:

  • All levels: play a solo of your choice (NOTE: Please bring a copy of your solo for Ms TenNapel)
  • All levels: play some sight reading at your level
  • Concertino I: play a one octave scale in the key of A, D or G beginning with the corresponding open string.
  • Philharmonic: play a 2 octave scale (preferably moving out of first position).
  • Chamber III: play a 3 octave scale.


If you have questions about auditions, please contact the Orchestra Manager, Dan Lamar

vyo violinsDonate online with a credit card or Paypal

OR print our donation form and mail with your donation to:

Valley Youth Orchestra
P.O. Box 274
Delta, CO 81416-0274

All contributions and sponsorships are tax-exempt.

VYO Directors/Conductors - Then and Now

  • January 1999 to June 2000 - Tyme Mientka (from Paonia then Grand Junction)
  • July 2000 to June 2005 - Janice Walker (from Cedaredge)
  • July 2005 to June 2011 - Prof. Kenneth Todd (from Gunnison)
  • July 2011 to present - Debra TenNapel (from Cedaredge and now Montrose)