Steel Orchestras - Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras

CYSO’s Steel Orchestras include four ensembles made up of elementary, middle, and high school students. This is a full year program that introduces students to music through the steelpan (sometimes called the steel drum), a unique percussion instrument which has its roots in the Caribbean islands and culture of Trinidad and Tobago. Rehearsals focus on basic music theory, technique, musicianship, building a diverse repertoire and learning about calypso—the traditional music of Trinidad and Tobago—as well as other musical styles from classical to jazz.

No Experience Necessary

No experience is necessary to join CYSO’s Steel Orchestras– ensembles range from beginner to experienced young musicians.

To join, students participate in a tryout and are placed in an appropriate ensemble based on their age and musical experience. Tryouts happen each spring and the Steel Orchestras season follows the school year with concerts in December and May.

Steel ensembles include:

Jumbies | Elementary School Students

Groove Steel Ensemble | Elementary/Middle School Students

Junior Steel Orchestra | Intermediate Elementary/Middle School Students

Kaiso Steel Orchestra | High School Students

Tuition and Financial Assistance

CYSO program tuition is available online on our tuition page. We make our programs accessible to all students, regardless of their financial background. Need-based financial assistance is available for all CYSO programs.

Meet CYSO’s Steel Orchestras Director, Scott McConnell

Scott’s diverse and eclectic interest in learning many styles of music have led him to a career as a percussion/steelpan performer and educator. As an advocate and representative of the steelpan, Scott co-founded Pastiche Steel Ensemble, a professional steelband that focuses on sharing the power and versatility of the steelpan through new collaborations and mediums.

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