About the Decatur Youth Symphony

The Decatur Youth Symphony (DYS) is a 501(c)3 non-profit arts organization in Decatur, Alabama. The program was founded in 2003 by Stan Belskey who was inspired by a Third Grad Violin program administered at the time by the Huntsville Symphony School in Decatur City Schools. The program provided 10 free violin lessons to third graders to introduce them to string music. Mr. Belskey saw the wonderful impact that the program was having on the students and wanted to provide a way for the students to continue in string music after their time in the program, as well as offer string education to additional children in Decatur and the surrounding area. DYS was started with 20 young violin players.

Today, DYS has expanded to include multiple string ensembles at varying levels, as well as other percussion and individual instrument ensembles. These main ensembles serve over 275 student each year. Additionally, DYS administers the 2nd Grade Violin program in Decatur City Schools, as well as several outreach programs through partnerships with the school system and organizations within the city.

Mission Statement

The Decatur Youth Symphony transforms lives through music by providing students the opportunity to learn and perform music, impacting the culture of our community.

Vision Statement

The Decatur Youth Symphony will:

  • provide, as a division of Decatur Parks and Recreation, young musicians with the benefits of character development and life lessons provided through team experience
  • strive to ensure that every qualified student will have the opportunity to participate in our programs, regardless of financial need
  • reach out to underserved students by collaborating with other organizations to provide instrumental instruction that develops musical talent, fosters self esteem, enhances academic performance and promotes good citizenship
  • perform at a quality level at all public performances that will make them a source of civic pride for the community and inspiration for their peers
  • expose our community to live music and foster an awareness of and appreciation for many forms of music