Merced Symphony Children’s Concerts

Each year the Merced Symphony presents Children’s Concerts to 3,000 3rd, 4th, & 5th grade students from throughout Merced County. We work with the Merced County Office of Education (MCOE) to bus students to each our free concerts at the Merced Theatre downtown. The Los Baños Unified School District (LBUSD) handles reservations for the two concerts held at the Pacheco HS Theater in Los Baños. The concerts are planned to appeal to elementary students. Teacher packets are provided to teachers ahead of time to help prepare their students for the performance. The information includes a CD of the music to be played as well as information about the music, the composers, and the symphony orchestra. MSA usually features our Youth Audition winner(s) at one of our season concerts. These concerts prove to be very popular with the teachers and students who attend. Here are a few quotes:

  • I learned that music can change your mood.
  • I learned that playing is hard and you have a big part no matter what [the] instrument.
  • In the theatre on ‘Hedwig’s Flight’ I closed my eyes and pictured flying. It was really fun.
  • I learned that music can make you want to do something.
  • The jazz music was very very very very very very good!!!!! [sic]
  • I learned that to be amazing it takes a lot of practice.

Merced Symphony Association and Merced College
announce the 2017-18 Annual MSA Youth Auditions

Click bleow to download and print information

Youth Audition Letter for Teachers (pdf)

Youth Audition Application (pdf)

Merced Symphony Children’s Concert 2016
(Click to play video)


The 2017-2018 Season will be our 60th consecutive year of bringing exceptional classical music to the Merced community. Enclosed is an application for the Merced Symphony Youth Auditions which are being cosponsored this year with Merced College. We hope you will encourage any students you feel are capable to enter the competition. Also, feel free to copy the application and share it with other music teachers and students.


  • Contestants must be able to perform proficiently on a musical instrument or in voice.
  • Concerto performed should be from standard concert repertoire.
  • Vocal competition should include two contrasting selections.

THIS YEAR’S COMPETITION IS SATURDAY, October 14, 2017 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 pm at Merced College. Students will report at least 15 minutes ahead of their assigned time to Music Room 1 which is located in the building behind the Merced College Theater. There are practice rooms available and a place for parents to wait during the auditions. The schedule for the auditions will be determined by the number of applicants and the distance they are travelling and will be given the week preceding the auditions.

  • Contestants must be under the age of 21 as of January 1, 2018.
  • Contestants must provide three (3) copies of the music to be performed for the judges.
  • At the discretion of the Music Director, the winner(s) may be invited to perform with the at either one of the four Children’s Concerts or with the Merced Symphony Orchestra at the Spring.
  • Concert and are expected to do so, if asked. There is no guarantee of a public performance.
  • Cash awards are given to the winner(s). Usually this is--1st Place: $100/2nd Place: $75/3rd Place: $50.
  • Contestants are expected to provide their own accompanist. A piano or keyboard will be available for the accompanist.
  • A $20 entry fee made payable to the Merced Symphony Association (MSA) must accompany the completed application.
  • Deadline for applications is September 30, 2017.
  • Mail entry form and fee to the Merced Symphony, P. O. Box 894, Merced 95341-0894.
  • If you have questions, please call the Symphony Office, 383-3277 to leave a message or call MSA President, Judy Edwina Smith, 209-777-5345 or e-mail sierratrekker@comcast.net.

**Watch the website for information on next season’s youth auditions**

Youth Audition Winner Amaryn Olmeda

Aspiring young violinist Amaryn Olmeda, age 9, began playing the violin at 4 years old. She is a student of renowned violinist and educator, William Barbini. Amaryn made her performance debut at the Colorado Suzuki Strings Institute in Beaver Colorado at the age of 6. Since then, she has won first place for the Auburn Symphony Young Artists Competition (also the Grand Prize Winner), the Music in the Mountains Young Musicians Competition (also the Paul Perry Award for Best Performance), the Classical Music Masters at the Harris Center for the Performing Arts, the Sacramento Youth Symphony Academic Orchestra Concerto Competition, the Pacific Musical Society Competition in San Francisco, the Sacramento Section of the American String Teachers Association Solo Competition, and recently the Merced Symphony Youth Auditions. In addition to her solo endeavors, Amaryn is Principal 2nd Violinist in the Premier Orchestra of the Sacramento Youth Symphony.

Amaryn has been a solo artist with the Sacramento Youth Symphony Academic Orchestra, the Music in the Mountains Youth Orchestra, and with the SYS Chamber Music Workshop Orchestra at the Westminster Music at Noon Concert Series. For the 2017-2018 season, Amaryn will be returning as a soloist with the Music in the Mountains Youth Orchestra. She will also be the featured artist for the “Amazing Talent” 2018 Family Concert of the Auburn Symphony. Amaryn has also been asked to perform as a soloist with the Sacramento Youth Symphony Premier Orchestra at their End of Watch Concert, honoring fallen police officers and firefighters of Sacramento.

Amaryn has been the guest artist for the Sacramento Youth Symphony Academic Orchestra School Tours program, where she was the featured soloist for performances at schools in the Sacramento area. In the summer of 2017, she was the featured soloist for the SYS Chamber Music Workshop, performing as a soloist with the Chamber Orchestra Mentors at various nursing homes. She has performed at the Davis Community Church weekly Luncheons for the Homeless, for the Children for Children Showcase Concert to benefit the Child Advocates of Nevada County, and for the Keaton Raphael Memorial Foundation, an organization benefiting children with cancer. Amaryn also loves collecting American Girl Dolls, attending ballet and art classes, and knitting and sewing. She homeschools on her family's hobby farm in Loomis, CA where she enjoys caring for animals and family gardening.


Past Youth Auditions Winners

Some of the past winners of the Merced Symphony Youth Auditions are:
Adrian Pu - Piano
Owen Yang
- Piano

Amy Deng
- Piano
Jessica Yeung - Piano
Parker Van Ostrand - Piano
Nathan Hunsuck - Cello
Karen Wong - Piano
Roger Xia - Piano
Kathryn Matson – Violin
Kristen Hunsuck – Violin
Selena Pistoresi – Piano
Lexie Pivirotto-Britton – Voice
Marit Medefind – Voice
Marty Matson – Violin
Jared Pierce – Piano
Jacob Matson – Cello
Sophia Kreide – Violin
Duet of Sophia Kreide and Caitlin Hunsuck – Violin
Trio of Geoffrey Baker Matson – Piano; Jacob Matson – Cello; Marty Matson – Violin
Paulette Casillas – Voice
Anita Kris – Piano
Michael Carlson – Violin
Emily Reed – Violin
Robyn Decker – Cello
Tara Kamanger – Piano
Shoanie Young – Violin
Yonnie Young – Cello
Kristen Cheeseman – Voice
Ashley Callister – Piano
Patrice Stribling Nelson – Piano
Patrick M. Thompson -- Piano

Many of these winners have continued to perform as soloists or with groups after performing with the Merced Symphony.

**If you are reading this and are a youth audition winner or if you know a winner, please contact the Merced Symphony and let us know. Also, let us know if you continue to perform.**



PO BOX 894
MERCED, CA 95341-0894



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