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Spartanburg Philharmonic Hires Spartanburg Native to Lead Junior Youth Orchestra

May 04, 2020 | Press Releases


Contact: Courtney Oliver 
Spartanburg Philharmonic 

Spartanburg, SC (May 1, 2020) - While the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the season's final concert for the Spartanburg Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (SPYO), and delayed auditions for the 2020-2021 season, the organization moved forward with its search for a Music Director to lead the new Junior Youth Orchestra, announced earlier this February. Now, the Spartanburg Philharmonic is pleased to announce that it has hired Spartanburg native Johanna Wilson to lead the newly formed group.

In returning to Spartanburg and joining SPYO, Ms. Wilson brings with her 42 years of experience teaching strings to elementary, intermediate, middle, and high school programs in Richland School District One and Lexington School District One. She is also active in local state and national teaching and string organizations, she is Past-President of the South Carolina Music Educators Association Orchestra Division and the South Carolina String Teachers Association with NSOA. Ms. Wilson's full bio can be found online at

Ms. Wilson, a Spartanburg native, is excited to return to her roots. "I am looking forward to coming back to a place that is so very special to me and becoming a part of my hometown music community. The Youth Orchestra program offers so many opportunities for the development of budding musicians. Offering young people an orchestra in which to perform with students who have like interests in a positive environment working in tandem with high expectations will help students develop the skills to be successful along with creating lifelong friends of the arts."

As a Spartanburg District 7 Orchestra teacher and Chair of the Spartanburg Philharmonic Education Committee, Helen Tipton was an integral part of the formation of the youth orchestra, the addition of the Junior group, and part of the interview panel for the new Music Director. "Our Junior SPYO couldn't be in better hands," says Tipton. "Johanna brings a lifetime of experience, nurturing, and expertise that will inspire our middle school students and teachers alike."

Upon Ms. Wilson's acceptance of the position, Spartanburg Philharmonic Executive Director, Kathryn Boucher echoed Tipton's enthusiasm. "We are thrilled to welcome Johanna to our Spartanburg Youth Orchestra!" While the first-year success of the young orchestra prompted the Philharmonic to expand the program, Boucher knew the new Music Director needed to have the skills and experience required to lead the new group to flourish as well. "Ms. Wilson has valuable experience," Boucher states, "but also a wealth of talent, love of students and expertise, she will create a tremendous Junior ensemble that will be very successful."

Due to ongoing social distancing measures, 2020-2021 auditions for both the Junior and Senior Youth Orchestra will be held online this year. Prospective students are encouraged to submit their application and a short video performance to the Spartanburg Philharmonic by June 1, 2020. A $25 fee will apply to all submissions. More information about SPYO, including tuition, scholarships, additional audition details, and more are available at

About Spartanburg Philharmonic The Spartanburg Philharmonic's mission is to enrich, inspire, and educate through live performances of high-quality music. Founded in 1928, the Spartanburg Philharmonic is comprised of professional musicians from diverse backgrounds who form an ensemble capable of performing a variety of musical styles and repertoire.

About Spartanburg Philharmonic Youth Orchestra

The Spartanburg Philharmonic is proud to present the Youth Orchestra for instrumental students in Spartanburg, SC, and surrounding areas. The goal of SPYO is to provide a rewarding experience for talented young musicians, grades 6-12, who wish to expand their knowledge of symphonic literature, as well as participate in high-quality musical performances with professional, dynamic conductors.

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