NYS and Covid-19: Updates and Info

the music continues

Scale requirements for the NYS audition


Our 66th season begins with the first rehearsal on September 12th. Rehearsals are in-person at Norwalk City Hall. 

Following state and local guidelines in order to make the rehearsal environment as safe as possible. See our safety protocols and vaccine requirements.


This season, adapting to Covid includes wearing a mask, social distancing, outdoor snack, and more. Last season, we incorporated online Masterclasses and had out final concert outdoors at Cranbury Park.


A performance tour to Italy is planned for 2022, as well as a Carnegie Hall performance that year. We're looking forward to great things this season!

September 10, 2021

Our 66th season gets underway on Sunday, September 12th, with our first rehearsal. 

To prepare for our first rehearsal, please review the two documents below that pertain to Covid-19, especially the safety protocols we will implement during the new season. Each NYS student and family has important responsibilities in helping to limit risks from Covid-19, so please go over these requirements thoroughly with your student.


1. Please read and review the NYS Safety Protocols document below.

2. Sign the Acknowledgements, Waivers, and Release form.

3. Send the signed form along with proof of vaccine OR negative pcr to Sara Watkins at nyscovid@gmail.com. Sending this in before Sunday will allow your child to skip the long check-in lines. Alternately, you may send the completed form and vaccine/pcr proof with your child on Sunday. Any student arriving at City Hall without a completed form on file will not be allowed to attend rehearsal. 


NYS Safety Protocols and Vaccine Requirements 


COVID Acknowledgements, Waivers, and Release 



April 29, 2021

Norwalk Youth Symphony is thrilled to announce that we will be returning to in-person rehearsals for most groups on Sunday, May 2nd. (Concert Orchestra returns to in-person on May 16th.) 


  • NYS has prepared a document with Safety Protocols we will follow during in-person rehearsals, recitals and concerts. Please review these rules and guidelines with your child(ren).

  • NYS has also prepared a Covid Acknowledgments, Waivers, and Release Document to be completed by each family. A signed document is required before your child(ren) may attend NYS in-person events.

View the May orchestra rehearsal schedule here.


NYS Safety Protocols 


COVID Acknowledgements Waivers and Release 

Please return completed release to Sara Watkins at nysed@optonline.net before Sunday morning. You may also send the completed form with your child on Sunday. Any student arriving at City Hall with out a completed form on file will not be allowed to attend rehearsal.


"When I signed up for the virtual chamber music program, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but over the course of the ten weeks, I was shown just how cool an online chamber music program can be! Our instructor was motivating and fun, and taught us a lot."

David, NYS 7th grader

"I really enjoyed NYS virtual program this fall. I loved that I had the opportunity to not only participate in the orchestra, but to be part of a small ensemble and take a music theory class, both of which were very informative and I wouldn’t have been able to do normally."

Jason, NYS sophomore

"Virtual Learning has allowed me to get to know my Conductor, Mrs. McNamara, and play my cello in a small group. My family and I have greatly appreciated the virtual social events and friendly welcome."

Bennett, NYS freshman & new member

December 18, 2020

We had a very successful fall semester, and thank our incredible students, parents, and conductors for making the best of the current situation. Thank you!


On 12/7 NYS held an online Town Hall to talk about the spring semester. Here are some highlights.

  • Registration for our spring semester is now open! Adult music appreciation classes were a success and will be offered again. This semester we've also added seminars. Seminars are classes that meet one time, focusing on a certain topic. Seminar topics and dates can be found on the Programs page here.

  • City Hall is still not open, so the spring semester will again be held virtually, with live online programming on Sundays.

  • We are hoping that by June we will be able to hold an outdoor, distanced performance at Cranbury Park in Norwalk. 

  • Carnegie Hall was rescheduled for 2022. 

  • We continue to monitor travel guidelines for the Italy trip with our tour company, Encore Tours.

June 29, 2020

The music continues at NYS for the 2020-2021 season!


What will the 2020-2021 season look like? How will it work? Please join Executive Director Sara Watkins for a virtual Open House on July 15th at 7pm to discuss how we're adapting our programming for the fall semester. Principal Orchestra Conductor and Music Director Jonathan Yates will be there, as will NYS Board President Alex Gittines, among others. Here are some things to know...

  • Because of Covid-19, NYS will have a fall semester and a spring semester

  • The fall semester is being held virtually, with live online programming on Sundays

  • When you register for an audition, you will select which program(s) you're interested in

  • Three program choices are 1. Large Ensemble/Orchestra, 2. Small Ensemble, and 3. Music Theory and Aural Skills class. You may choose multiple programs. You can be in a large ensemble AND a small ensemble. You can be in a small ensemble AND take the Music Theory class. Etc. Info on programs here

  • Students will record their audition and will submit their video recordings online by August 24th 

  • Audition requirements, excerpts, and submission guidelines can be found here 

The virtual Open House on July 15th is an online event. 

UPDATE: The online Open House was recorded and can be viewed on our YouTube channel here.

June 10, 2020

In normal times, our 2020 season closer was shaping up to be pretty exciting. The concert would have been on May 9th and it would have been preceded by workshops and master classes with the visionary artist and educator, Midori. While it was very disappointing that our season didn't end as we planned, our conductors and students were busy. Here are some videos that were created from the Pricipal Orchestra, Brass Ensemble, Phil Strings, and Prelude group. Enjoy.

Europe Trip to Italy - Updated 3/2/21

The trip to Italy initially planned for June 2020 is rescheduled for 2022 due to Covid-19. The new trip dates are from June 25th-July 3, 2022. More details on the tour here.

Carnegie Hall - Updated 12/18/20

NYS is scheduled to perform at Carnegie Hall in 2022. This event is for members of Principal Orchestra. We will post more information here as it becomes available.