What To Know For CYS Fall 2020:

  1. Students will meet virtually each week to work on full orchestra music as well as participate in master classes, sectionals and one on one training.
  2. Students will work towards a virtual concert in November.
  3. Chamber groups will be assigned and will rehearse virtually until it is safe to meet in person.
  4. Auditions will take place virtually. Students should audition in the fall if they want placement in a chamber group. Students who audition halfway through the year will be accepted but will be placed at the back of the section.

CYS Plan Fall 2020

The Canton Youth Symphonies are dedicated to high-quality orchestral education for students in the Stark County area and beyond. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, this organization is also dedicated to the safety of our students, families and staff. We have made the difficult decision to continue our orchestral education virtually for the Fall of 2020. We have made this decision using feedback from our community, several research studies, and the local, state and federal guidelines. Even though we will not be able to gather together safely, we want to create a fulfilling experience for our students and families. Students will be able to enjoy weekly rehearsals where they will be assigned full orchestra music, attend master classes, get one-on-one training and much more. 

We will be reevaluating and monitoring the situation on an ongoing basis. President & CEO Michelle Charles is intent on only returning when she feels confident that all participants can be safe. We will keep all of the families within the youth symphonies informed as things change.


Auditions for the Canton Youth Symphonies will be held virtually. Students will sign up to have a live audition via Zoom, August 30 – September 2. If a student requires to send in a pre-recorded video due to insufficient internet service, they can fill out a request form to do so.

*Percussionists will be allowed to audition in person due to the nature of the instruments needed. Once percussionists fill out the Audition Form, they should email rhagemeier@cantonsymphony.org to set up a special socially distanced audition. *


Tuition will also be lower for the 2020-2021 season and tuition will be paid monthly so our families have more flexibility.  Tuition will be due on the 15th of every month. Families will have the option to provide a credit card number and be automatically charged on the 15th or will need to send in a check each month. Families may also send in all checks for the fall at once, but they will be cashed once a month.

Tuition will be as follows:

  • Canton Youth Strings: $10 per month
  • Canton Youth Symphony: $15 per month
  • Canton Youth Symphony Advanced Orchestra: $15 per month

For families with more than one student in the program, each additional student will receive $5 their tuition per month.


The Canton Youth Symphonies will be instructed by the following:

  • Matthew Jenkins Jaroszewicz, Music Director and Associate Conductor of the CSO
  • Ralena Bevington, Youth Strings Instructor
  • Rachel Hagemeier, Manager of Education and Community Engagement

Teaching assistants will also be hired from Ohio university music education programs to assist with one on one training and other musical opportunities.


Students will still be placed into ensembles as normal based on their audition. Beginning on September 14th, students will meet weekly via Zoom for sectional rehearsals, master classes, practice sessions, and one-on-one training. For the duration of their ensemble’s rehearsal, students will be in a Zoom room where they can practice together or sit and ask questions. Each section will have a specific time during the full rehearsal where they will join a separate Zoom room to have their sectional rehearsal. The ensembles will meet during the following times: 

  • Canton Youth Strings
    • Monday: 5-6pm
  • Canton Youth Symphony Advanced Orchestra
    • Monday: 6-8:30pm
  • Canton Youth Symphony
    • Tuesday: 6-8:30pm

Although the organization will not be able to meet as a full orchestra for the time being, students will still be able to gather and work on orchestral music as a virtual group. Students will be assigned orchestral music and musical projects throughout the season while also having the opportunity for other musical development and possible collaborations with other youth organizations. Students may be assigned to chamber groups if interested. These groups may be able to rehearse in person before the full orchestras when the CSO deems it is safe to do so. 


Each week’s rehearsals will look something like this:

Canton Youth Strings: Monday, 5-6pm

  • Students will meet virtually for the full time as a group for sectionals.
  • For a portion of the rehearsal, students will have one-on-one rehearsals to improve upon their assigned music.

Canton Youth Symphony Advanced Orchestra: Monday, 6-8:30pm

  • 6-8:30pm – open Zoom room for practicing and meeting as a group
    • Attendance and group discussion: 6 – 6:15
    • String Sectional: 6:15 – 7:15
    • Woodwinds/Brass/Percussion Sectional: 7:15-8:15
    • Ending: 8:15 – 8:30

Canton Youth Symphony: Tuesday, 6-8:30pm

  • 6-8:30pm – open Zoom room for practicing and meeting as a group
    • Attendance and group discussion: 6 – 6:15
    • String Sectional: 6:15 – 7:15
    • Woodwinds/Brass/Percussion Sectional: 7:15-8:15
    • Ending: 8:15 – 8:30

Chamber Groups: Day/Time TBA

  • Students assigned to chamber groups will meet via Zoom to work on their music.
  • Meeting in person will be decided on a case by case basis when the CSO deems it could be safe to do so.

For both the Canton Youth Symphony Advanced Orchestra and the Canton Youth Symphony, students will be on Zoom for the entire rehearsal time (6-8:30). Breakouts into different rooms will happen at the specified times.

Other Ensembles Activities:

  • Musical and Career Development
  • Group Recitals
  • Virtual Orchestra Project
  • Compositional Workshops
  • Conducting Workshops
  • Theory/History Classes
  • Coaching with CSO Professional Musicians

On specific weeks, the ensembles will meet as a full group for the duration of the Zoom to have discussion on history, theory and other musical topics.  Recitals and musical development events will also be scheduled throughout the season. These will be a meeting of all three ensembles. More events and educational opportunities will be scheduled. 

We understand that this is not the ideal situation, but we hope that our community will trust us as we lean into the uncertainty to provide the best orchestral education possible in this time. We will be communicating any changes to our plan and monitoring the situation as the world situation develops. 


Rachel Hagemeier

Manager of Education and Community Engagement



Mission and History

Founded in 1961, the Canton Youth Symphony was created to give talented young students the experience of playing in a full orchestra. Designed as a supplemental educational experience to public and private school music programs, CYS strives to create music at the highest level while encouraging the artistic and personal growth of the students.  Lead by Music Director, Matthew Jenkins-Jaroszewicz, the Canton Youth Symphony has grown to include three ensembles and is made up of students from six counties in the Northeast Ohio area. From the elementary school students in the Youth Strings ensemble, to the high school seniors in the two full orchestra ensembles, CYS creates a challenging and joyful educational experience. 


Canton Youth Strings

Beginning and Intermediate String Players

Mondays: 5-6

Tuition: $10/month

Canton Youth Symphony

Full Orchestra for Intermediate Players

Tuesdays: 6-8:30

Tuition: $15/month

Canton Youth Symphony Advanced Orchestra

Full Orchestra for Advanced Players

Mondays: 6-8:30

Tuition: $15/month


Matthew Jenkins Jaroszewicz has served as Assistant Conductor of the Canton Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Canton Youth Symphony and Canton Youth Symphony Advanced Orchestra since 2017. During his tenure, he has conducted over a dozen performances with the orchestra, including works of Stravinsky, Saint-Saëns, Purcell, and Eric Benjamin on Masterworks series concerts. Last season saw his debut with the Tuscarawas Philharmonic and CityMusic Cleveland Chamber Orchestra in a collaboration with Grammy award-winning jazz trumpeter and Oscar nominated film composer Terence Blanchard.

Matthew made his Carnegie Hall debut in July 2018, conducting works of Fauré and Zach Gulaboff Davis. He was Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Apotheosis Opera in New York City for four years, with whom he conducted fully-staged productions of Wagner’s Tannhäuser, Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West, and Strauss’ Capriccio. On the concert podium, he has conducted the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Litha Symphony Orchestra, and Mannes Orchestra, along with numerous ensembles he has assembled himself.

Matthew holds degrees from Brown University and Mannes College of Music. He studied conducting with David Hayes, and was a Julius Rudel Conducting Fellow with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, where he received mentorship from Music Director JoAnn Falletta. He also served as Assistant Conductor of the Mannes Opera, where he worked under Glimmerglass Opera Music Director Joseph Colaneri.

Matthew is a native of Cincinnati, where he attended the School for Creative and Performing Arts before graduating from Walnut Hills High School. He swam competitively for the Cincinnati Aquatic Club, and continues to train and compete through U.S. Masters Swimming as a member of O*H*I*O Masters Swim Club. He is a member of the bass section of the Trinity Cathedral Choir in Cleveland, and is also an avid skier, hiker, and devoted baseball and football fan.

Ralena Mae Bevington has been the Canton Youth Strings instructor since 2017. A native of Canton, Ohio she began playing the violin and taking vocal lessons at the age of seven. Ralena achieved her Bachelor of Music Education Degree (BME) from the University of Mount Union, graduating cum laude. While attending the University of Mount Union, she played the viola in the Alliance Symphony. After graduating from college, she worked for Plain Local Schools for two years as their Orchestra Director. She is currently the Director of Strings for Canton City Schools where she teaches at McKinley HS (Downtown & Main Campus) and the Arts Academy at Summit. Ralena achieved her Master of Arts in Education as an Intervention Specialist, with a reading endorsement, from Malone University. 

In 2013, alongside Ms. Betty Smith, Beverly Bevington and S.C. Toe, she became Co-Founder of the 501c3 program En-Rich-Ment. This program gives inner-city children the opportunity to learn any musical instrument at no charge to the family. “In a society where we are connected through technology, music gives us the experience of having human interactions. We are able to have basic human relations and express our feelings through something that we all have in common; it gives us something to relate to. Everyone has a talent – music helps find it. I teach much more than just notes and rhythms on a page. I teach compassion, empathy, basic skills ie: reading/math, and how to work as a team. I teach LIFE through music.” 

In Ralena’s short career, she has achieved numerous recognitions including: The Williams Scholarship in Fine Arts, Mu Phi Epsilon Merit Award, The Gerald & Esther Garland Palmer – ‘32 Music Scholarship, Joseph A. & Rhea M. Jeffries Memorial Scholarship, Cecil T. & Marian H. Steward Award, The National Cabinet of Mount Union Women Scholarships, and Top 10 Finalist in the Canton Symphony Music Educator of the Year two years in a row.

Aside from teaching music, Ralena’s is an avid equine enthusiast participating in many events including Ranch Riding and Cutting. 

2331 17th St. NW
Canton, Ohio  44708

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