The KJSOs strive to be diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
End AAPI Hate
The KJSOs condemn, in the strongest possible terms, all racism and hate crimes directed toward the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. We are deeply saddened by the recent rise in such events. We stand with our AAPI members and families, seeking always to provide a space for their voices to be heard, to offer a source of support, and to grapple with how we can be agents of change in our community to end hate for good.
Black Lives Matter
The Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestras organization stands with those fighting against racism in our country and our community. We are heartbroken by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the countless others before them. Black Lives Matter.
We are dedicated to instilling excellence in youth and enriching our community, and we cannot do those things without acknowledging that systemic racism exists in our country and are pledging to combat it.
While this is an ongoing discussion within our organization, these recent tragedies and the dialogue we’re now having as a nation have made us reflect on our role and what we can do and must do. Our anti-discrimination policy is only a start. A goal of our orchestras and audiences reflecting the community is only a start. We have work to do, and we are committed to doing that work.
The Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra (KJSO), the flagship ensemble and namesake of the organization, is led by Andrew Koehler, who also serves as a professor of music at Kalamazoo College and is the music director of the acclaimed Kalamazoo Philharmonia. In addition to the KJSO’s three annual performances of professional-level repertoire in historic Chenery Auditorium, the KJSO also tours internationally, and offers a dynamic chamber music training program for select KJSO members who are coached by area professional musicians.
Preparation for younger string players hoping to one day join the Junior Symphony is provided by the three tiers of the Prep String Orchestras (PSOs). The Training Orchestra provides the youngest string players an opportunity to reinforce basic skills; those students can then go on to the Concert String Orchestra, and eventually the Symphonic String Orchestra, where the emphasis shifts to building technical and orchestral playing proficiencies. A distinguished KJSO alumna and noted pedagogue, Audrey Lipsey, is the director of all three ensembles. The Prep Winds Ensemble (PW) was established in 2015 to provide parallel training for younger woodwind and brass players. The PW is directed by respected performing and teaching artists Keith Geiman and Beth Jonker.
Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestras (KJSOs) is financed entirely by individual and business patrons, state and local grants, ticket sales, and special fund raising events. All KJSOs programs are tuition free so that every student, regardless of means, can participate. KJSOs alumni go on to academic and career success at astonishing rates, and some can even be found in major American and international orchestras, devoting their lives to the power of sharing music.
Read about KJSO’s History & Accomplishments.
Through the power of music, we instill excellence in youth and enrich our community.