Luncheon raises money for LaGrange Symphony Youth Orchestra

Published 7:38 pm Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Tables at Del’avant were decorated with some of the LaGrange Symphony Youth Orchestra’s favorite things on Tuesday.

The LaGrange Symphony Guild hosted its annual “My Favorite Things” luncheon to raise money for the LSYO on Tuesday. The annual event provides the funding needed to support the youth orchestra, which provides the opportunity for local students to practice instruments at weekly rehearsals. The luncheon and the attached auction typically supply all the funds needed for the program.

“Your whole reason for being here and supporting this event every year is to support the programs of our youth, and you need to come out and see what your money is providing because it is amazing,” said Raylene Carter, a member of the LaGrange Symphony Guild executive committee. “I really encourage you to come [to the performances].”

At the luncheon, Celeste Myall, the director of education outreach and conductor of LSYO, encouraged attendees to talk to school board members, administrators and members of the school system about including string instrument programs and classes in schools outside of the standard band and chorus classes.

“Today, I have one new challenge for you,” Myall said. “We currently have almost 150 [students] in the LaGrange Youth Orchestra, but it is always hard to keep them in for a while. So, we are always working on what we can improve. In the last few years, there is a great deal of interest in strings in LaGrange. We have 150 children, almost, that come after school and pay money — unless they don’t thanks to you and we are able to give them a scholarship — to do this. But, it is time for the school system to step up. We need strings in the public schools.”

One of the topics that guild members have discussed in the past is the role of music in mental development. However, Myall noted that music and string programs can also help students by providing positive relationships with peers.

“There are groups of kids who would do better in school with groups of friends who don’t necessarily fit in [with other groups],” Myall said. “String players … they can’t play in school, and that makes it hard.”

The total amount raised by this year’s event was not available Tuesday afternoon, but the 2018 luncheon raised more than $48,000 for LSYO programs.

The LaGrange Symphony Orchestra’s concert season will begin on Tuesday with a concert titled “The Beginning.” The season will continue with “Women in Music” on Oct. 30, a holiday concert on Dec. 11, “An Evening of Mozart” on March 19 and close with “The Planets” on April 23. The LaGrange Symphony Youth Orchestra will perform on Nov. 13 and March 22. All concerts will be performed at Callaway Auditorium.  To learn more or to purchase tickets, visit