DYSO Standing

Making Music Together!

The DYSO Program is a comprehensive musical training program for middle and high school students in the Decatur area who play orchestral instruments. It is focused on building musical excellence at all stages of musical development by placing students in an encouraging and collaborative environment and presenting them with appropriate musical challenges using high-quality musical repertoire. Instruction is directed by a staff of experienced and dynamic music educators and draws from the resources of the prestigious Millikin University School of Music and the Millikin/Decatur Symphony Orchestra.

Register for the DYSO Program

Decatur Youth Symphony Orchestra (DYSO)

The DYSO is high-quality ensemble of area orchestral musicians who are selected by audition and wish to develop their musical skills beyond their curricular music programs. Students rehearse well-known symphonic repertoire under the direction of Dr. Neal Smith, Coordinator of Music Education for the Millikin University, School of Music. Membership is open to music students in grades 6 through 12 who have had at least one year of experience playing an instrument.

Spring 2023

  • Rehearsals take place Monday evenings from 5:15 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. in Kirkland Fine Arts Center at Millikin University. Tuition is $52 per semester (scholarships available).
  • Auditions: January 17, 2023 (Perkinson Music Center)

The Decatur Youth Symphony Orchestra is supported by Millikin University, the Symphony Orchestra Guild of Decatur, and Decatur School District #61.

DYSO Staff

  • Neal Smith, Music Director and Conductor
  • Amy Catron, String Coach
  • Aaron Villarreal, Percussion Coach


2023 DYSO Performance Calendar

  • Tues. Sept. 6, Wed. Sept. 7, and Thurs. Sept. 8 from 5pm to 7
    DYSO Auditions (Perkinson Music Center)
  • Monday, Sept. 19 at 5:15pm to 6:45
    First Rehearsal (Perkinson Music Center room #136)
  • Thursday, March 2 at 10am
    PASS concert w/MDSO (Kirkland Stage)
  • Sunday, April 16 at 2pm
    Spring Concert (Kirkland Stage)
    Featuring the premiere of a new composition by Benjamin Horne
  • Friday, June 2-Sunday, June 4
    Heart of Illinois Youth Symphony Festival (Eastern IL Univ.)