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Our Story

The Youth Orchestra of Greater Columbus (YOGC) was formed in May of 1993, by Lynn Whiddon and Charlyn Kerr, staunch supporters of arts in our community, with a mission to provide a high level of musical instruction to the youth in our area. Currently the program serves approximately 85 young musicians from over thirty area public, private, and home schools in both Georgia and Alabama. We have students as young as 11, all the way up through their senior year in high school.

Since our founding 30 years ago, we have been proud to witness how our activities have benefitted the Valley Area community and beyond. Want to take part? Contribute to our work by donating today!


Mission Statement

To teach young people about music. To provide the opportunity for young instrumentalists to have the highest quality musical experience in an orchestral setting. To foster the discipline necessary to be successful in music, recognizing that this discipline is invaluable in life and other pursuits. To instill a sense of value of the arts as an enrichment in every aspect of life.


Providing an opportunity for young people to learn, perform and enjoy classical music!


Our Programs

String Orchestra
Made up of mostly middle school students, our String Orchestra is comprised of violin, viola, and cello sections. They rehearse weekly with our Music Director and Conductor, Jim Palmer, as well as our Associate Conductor, Jessica French.

Youth Orchestra
The Youth Orchestra is our largest program, consisting of mostly high school students. This program features a fully symphonic make up, including strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion sections. They perform standard repertoire and rehearse weekly with our Music Director and Conductor, Jim Palmer.

Chamber Groups

Each season a few of our students are formed into various ensembles to continue honing their instrumental craft by learning to play as a small group. YOGC contracts specialized coaches to instruct these ensembles weekly, and they perform at our seasonal concerts, as well as several community events throughout the year.

Summer String Camp

Every first week of June, we are privileged to host over fifty area students who desire to learn more about their stringed instrument. We employ multiple string coaches from around the state to coach, mentor, and direct these students, and we finish off with a bang at our annual String Camp Concert at the end of the week. If a String Camp student wishes to be a part of the String or Youth Orchestra the following season, they do not have to audition!

Our Team

The Faces of Our Organization


Jim Palmer

Music Director & Conductor

Rachel Morway

Executive Director

Board of Directors



Kathleen Mullins

Immediate Past-President
Amy Walters


Jill Honeycutt


Joseph Brannan



Gladys Williams-Tillmon



Dr. Michael Cater

Jayne Dunn

Dr. Bonnie Ellis

George Del Gobbo

Amy Harkness

Laura Hart

Edson Jean-Jacques

Karen Lewis

Steve Slater

Dr. Karen Stuart

Matt Whiddon

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