What is Arts Umbrella?
Arts Umbrella's vision is to inspire and lead students on a journey of discovery through orchestral instruction and performance. We do this by offering the highest-quality instruction progressing from beginning classes to advanced orchestras, offering need-based program and private lesson scholarships, and collaborating with area schools and arts organizations.
The organization that we know today as Arts Umbrella (AU) was created in 1934 when its founders realized that, in order to build an adult symphony orchestra for our community, we must first train our youth. By 1997, new demands for increased music and performing arts instruction for area youth had convinced the Eugene Youth Symphony Association/Eugene Junior Orchestra to take on a new name and to broaden its mission, consequently making AU what it is today.
Arts Umbrella currently runs several programs. Our sequential orchestral program includes five levels of orchestral training designed for students from grades four through the age of twenty-one. For grade-schoolers, AU has worked in partnership with area schools to maintain crucial first year classes called String Academies. Students may then continue through String Academy 2, for strings only, and three, articulated, full-symphony orchestras: the Little Symphony, the Junior Orchestra and the Eugene Youth Symphony. Other AU classes include summer elementary, middle and high school musical theater, summer strings, and summer band.
The Arts Umbrella Board of Directors endeavors to encourage participation of our youth by keeping the costs of the classes at a minimum and by guaranteeing that all students have access to the classes, regardless of their ability to pay for them. At the same time, it is vital that Arts Umbrella continue to employ only the best teachers and that the stellar quality of our programs is maintained.
We are very proud of the success that Arts Umbrella has enjoyed since 1934, and we look forward to continuing to serve the youth of our community in the years to come. Together we can sustain the long tradition of excellence in education and commitment to our children that is Arts Umbrella.
Arts Umbrella -A Brief History
- 1934First organizational meeting of the Eugene Symphony Association. Founders included Mrs. C. A. Horton, President of the Eugene Federation of Women’s Organizations, and Genevieve Tugman.
- 1935First orchestra concert, presented by the Eugene Symphony.
- 1946Douglas Orme was appointed conductor and private lesson scholarships were provided for the musicians.
- 1959The name of the organization was changed to the Eugene Junior Symphony Association and the first Symphonic Safari, an original concert concept developed by Byron Miller, was presented.
- 1971The Junior Strings became the second orchestra sponsored by the EJSA. Intended as a feeder ensemble for the Junior Symphony, the Junior Strings, conducted by Nathan Cammack, met on Monday afternoons at Roosevelt Middle School.
- 1987The EJSA was renamed the Eugene Youth Symphony Association and Richard Long became its first Music Director. Rick Wolfgang added woodwinds, brass and percussion to the Junior Strings and renamed it the Eugene Junior Orchestra.
- 1992EYSA Board members and staff created the Community Performing Arts School (CPAS) where non-instrumental music classes were taught for the first time. Pat Knaus taught the first musical theater classes as a part of CPAS. The first String Academy classes for first and second year string students were held on Saturday mornings at South Eugene High School.
- 1994The EYSA changed its name to Arts Umbrella and broadened its offerings to meet the needs of the community. The organization now offered dance and drama classes in addition to an augmented music curriculum that included private lessons, voice and music theory classes, in addition to three levels of orchestra instruction.
- 1995A third orchestra, the Cadet Orchestra (now the Little Symphony) lead by Forrest Moyer, was created and summer classes, including musical theater, string academies and summer bands were initiated.
- 1996Encore String (now String Academy 2), was created, adding a fourth orchestra to the existing programs. String Academy classes were taught in selected elementary schools in Eugene School District 4J. The Arts Umbrella office was moved to its current location at Dunn School. David Chinburg was appointed conductor of the Junior Orchestra and the JO began to expand its coaching and outreach offerings.
- 2002Three String Academy classes were taught to 5th graders in Eugene Public School buildings.
- 2004Arts Umbrella is awarded the prestigious Fentress Award for contributions made by an arts organization to the city of Eugene.
- 2008Arts Umbrella celebrates its 75th Anniversary season with several special events scheduled throughout the year.
- 2010Jason Duckles is appointed conductor of the
Eugene Youth Symphony.
- 2011Arts Umbrella's Summer Musical Theater Camp program celebrates its 20th anniversary. These two camps are the longest running musical theater camps in Eugene.
- Today Arts Umbrella offers an extensive set of courses year-round to students in the greater Lane County region. Arts Umbrella continues to address the arts education needs of the community and work collaboratively with other agencies to guarantee that high quality performing arts instruction continues to be available to students regardless of their background.