The Grand Rapids Youth Symphony was formed in 1959 by the Grand Rapids Symphony as a means for West Michigan's most talented young musicians to reherse and perform together under demanding professional standards. For more than 60 Years, the GRYS has been part of and administered by the Grand Rapids Symphony. The Grys Provides these exceptional Musicians with opportunities for in-depth study of difficult Orchestral repertoire, sectional coaching by leading professional musicians, concert performances in fine acoustic halls, chamber ensemble training, andan annual Skip Gates Concerto Competition. Currently nearly 100 members strong, The Grand Rapids Youth Symphny is made up of student musicians from all accross West Michigan, including from Big Rapids High School and Crossroads Charter Academy. The Orchestra Completed its first European tour in the summer of 2016, performing in Vienna, Salzburg, and Prague.
Maestro John Varineau, commanding the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony podium since 1986, also serves as the Associate Conductor of the Grand Rapids Symphony, as well as teaching at Calvin College.
The 2019 Festival of the Arts program will feature several movements from Gustav Holst's The Planets, as well as additional selections.