Senior Orchestra

June 26 – July 2, 2022

Designed for senior high students who play string, wind, and percussion instruments, the primary focus of this program is developing the finest orchestral ensemble experience and individual artistry. Classes include full ensemble rehearsals complemented by sectionals, technique classes and an elective. Selected woodwind, brass, and percussion students will be assigned to the Senior Orchestra in place of Senior Band based on placement auditions on the first day. Woodwinds, brass, and percussion players should register for Senior Band, but will be asked to give their preference at the audition. The audition material is the same whether auditioning for placement into Senior Orchestra or to one of the two concert bands.

Format: In-person on the Urbana-Champaign campus.


  • For students completing grades 8 – 12.

Typical Daily Schedule

8:15 – 9:15 am:  Full Rehearsal
9:30 – 10:30 am: Full Rehearsal
10:45 – 11:45 am:  Sectionals
12:00 – 1:00 pm: Lunch
1:15 – 2:15 pm:  Full Rehearsal
2:30 – 4:45 pm: Master Class/String Chamber/Electric Strings
5:15 pm: Dinner and Evening Activities
10:30 pm: Lights out

Application Materials

  • Submit the ISYM Application Form (0pens December 1)
  • Acceptance notifications are sent on a rolling basis.
  • Additional accepted student information will be available after April 15, 2022.

String Chamber Music

String students enrolled in Senior Orchestra are invited to audition for String Chamber Music with the Jupiter Quartet in place of their elective. To be considered for placement in a string chamber ensemble, students are asked to submit a short video of themselves playing 2 contrasting etudes or excerpts totaling 3-5 minutes. 

Open to students registering on violin, viola and cello. 

Upload your audition video for String Chamber Music.


  • Resident – $800 (tuition, room and board)
  • Commuter – $550 (tuition and lunch only)


Charles (Chuck) Dickerson, Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles | Southside Chicago Youth Orchestra

Charles (Chuck) Dickerson is the Executive Director and Conductor of the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles. Over his 40 plus years of conducting, he has directed performances of many of the greatest orchestral and choral works throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. He has prepared choruses for concerts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestras including the Phil’s 2012 performance of the Mahler Eighth Symphony and performances of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Maestro Gustavo Dudamel conducting.

Chuck also holds important compositional and arranging credits. His best-known work is “I Have A Dream,” a choral and orchestral setting of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s landmark speech. The work was performed for the unveiling ceremonies the King Memorial on the National Mall in Washington DC, and at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles as Los Angeles County’s official celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the speech. He has also arranged and conducted orchestral performances of the music of Duke Ellington, Stevie Wonder, Motown and others.

He holds a Master of Music Degree from California State University, Los Angeles with a focus on conducting, and degrees from Howard University (B.S.) and American University (J.D.). He has studied with esteemed Conductors Gustav Meier, Daniel Lewis, and Kenneth Kiesler. He also currently serves as Director of Music at Rolling Hills United Methodist Church, and formerly served as Music Director and Conductor of the Southeast Symphony (2004-2011). He has held important public and civic leadership positions in Washington DC and Los Angeles.