Manitou Springs High School seniors Anton Akse, principal chair tuba, and Logan Abeel, principal chair bass trombone, have been playing for the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony this year.

“The Colorado Springs Youth Symphony is the top orchestral group in the Colorado Springs area. There are only two of these prestigious orchestra groups in Colorado, the other being in Denver,” Akse said.

The CSYS gives an opportunity for high school students to develop their skills with their instruments and give students the experience playing in an environment they may not otherwise see.

“It’s really cool to work with some top musicians in the area. It’s definitely grown my understanding of music and grown my love of music. And since a symphony has stringed instruments in it as well, it has expanded the type of music I can play,” Akse said.

The orchestra experience also helps to build character and develop skills that can be used outside of an orchestra.

“CSYS has affected me by giving me an ensemble to continually work for throughout the year. It builds a strong commitment at a very high level of expectation, which I believe helped me evolve myself into a more responsible person,” Abeel said.

To get into this orchestra, students have to audition in front of several CSYS members.

“You have to complete a several-day audition at the beginning of summer,” Akse said. “There’s one tuba spot at the top of the band, so they have to look at all of the auditions and then decide who gets in.”

Auditioning in front of professional musicians and teachers is not easy for student musicians.

“Anyone who has auditioned for anything will know how nerve-racking it can be,” Abeel said.

“I warmed up in a room with a few other musicians, who all seemed to be more prepared than me; and when the time came, I walked into the audition room with friendly faces who made the process incredibly easier than I could have ever imagined,” he said.

This honors band plays several concerts throughout the year.

“Most of our concerts take place at either the Ent Center, which is in Colorado Springs, or at the Pikes Peak Center, which is downtown,” Aske said.

They also play at events across Colorado, such as a Feb. 26 performance at Macky Auditorium Concert Hall in Boulder. The CSYS also has the opportunity this year to play in other countries.

“We’re going to Greece over the summer to play on cruise ships and play in one of their famous halls,” Aske said.

Abeel is still considering how to pursue his career after high school, so he plans to take more time to think about it.

“I plan on attending a community college to get at least some prerequisites out of the way. And once I find out what I want to pursue, I may find a more specialized education,” he said.

After high school, Aske plans to continue his music career.

“I’m looking into colleges in New York or Oregon to study music education,” he said. “And I made sure both schools have bands and an orchestra with strings, so I can continue to play in both.” 

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