Conductor’s Kudos

29 October 2020:

Hello SJYO & Friends!!!
I know I’m late in getting this out, but I didn’t want it to go by without letting you all know that Miss Amy is super-over-the-top proud of each of you individually as well as with the group as a whole for the job you did at the concert Friday evening!  You all continue to meet and exceed expectations through hard work, dedication, and commitment.  KUDOS on a job well done!
It takes a lot of behind-the-scenes effort to bring an event such as this to pass.  In addition to the musicians of the SJYO, we would like to call out and acknowledge the following for their critical role in bringing this concert to pass:
Miss Amy – Our amazing and persistent Director, Conductor, and Founder!
The DiNovi Family, for the use of their land and barn for rehearsals and concerts; for all the decorating and festivities to be enjoyed later.
The Lipinski family for the audio/visual recording
The Friends of the orchestra, who have been coming out to practice week after week, to mentor these fine young musicians
YOU – The parents, for faithfully bringing their budding musicians to practice
Everyone who contributed to the refreshments.
A special thank-you to the Marcione family for bringing the gear for announcing, as well the canopy, lights, and other necessities that made the evening more enjoyable.
A special thank-you to Woody Zenfell, the percussionist, for coming out and filling a critical role in percussion.
I have tried to include everyone in the above, as we are so thankful for your efforts and contribution, but if there is anyone who I have not mentioned, please know it was not deliberate.  If you let me know, I will be delighted to send out a special thank-you.
Because the ever-dynamic CoVID-19 continues to influence our day-to-day lives, we do not yet know exactly how we will handle Spring, 2021.  However, Miss Amy and Friends have laid some important groundwork over these past several months that will allow the orchestra and the music to continue forward!  Please stay ‘tuned’ (pun intended ?) for future announcements about the orchestra.
I have also overhauled and completely updated the orchestra’s website, including adding links to all of the past performances for the orchestra as well as summer camp, with the exception of the Spring, 2020 concert, so please check it out. Currently, I do not have access to the footage from that program.  I know it was live-streamed, but IDK if it was ever recorded.  I will update that to the website if I can get access to the footage.  That is an extra-special concert, as it not only brought the Spring, 2020 concert season to fruition, but it is also the orchestra’s statement of having overcome the obstacles endured as a result of the CoVID-19 crisis.
Thanks again, to everyone, for your dedication and for a job well done!
Until we meet again,
Miss Chris for Miss Amy

November 24th, 2019:

Hello SJYO & Friends,
Miss Amy wants to congratulate everyone on their exceptional performance at Thursday night’s concert!
This was an ambitious program, and Miss Amy is absolutely OVER-THE-TOP proud of how each of you has risen to the challenge of the music.  In fact, I had someone say to me just today that they thought Thursday night’s performance was the best.  True statement!
We all know the tremendous investment Miss Amy makes in each of her students personally.  Each of you has demonstrated that investment by your performance. You each are to be congratulated – not only on your performance, but also on how you practiced and made it excellent.
We want to thank each and every one of you for the effort you put into the performance!  It showed brilliantly Thursday night!
There are also some folks who do a lot behind the scenes, and I would like to take a moment to extend a word of thanks to them:
Miss Jill, thank you so much for the beautiful tribute to Amy’s parents, especially to her Dad.  I think every single one of us owes a debt of gratitude to this dear and precious man whose love of music and passion for teaching will live on in each one of us whose life has been touched by his influence.  My daughter Laura, who is now in college, commented on how Mr. Patton was a great encouragement to her when she was new to the orchestra years ago.  She wasn’t sure she was up to it in the beginning, but his encouraging words gave her the fortitude to press onward.   As a parent, I am deeply grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Patton for passing their passion for teaching music to Miss Amy, and I am even more indebted to Miss Amy for how she has brought my son along in his violin studies – and not only him, but the hand she has had in my daughter’s training in flute, and encouragement to my younger son in his clarinet studies.  In this time of counting our blessings and being thankful, I am overwhelmed by the goodness of this family to me and mine in music.
Mr. Steve, thank you so much for your work in recording the concerts and posting them on YouTube for us!  Before you, we did not have that, and we cannot thank you enough not only for these recordings, but in the excellence of the work.
Mr. Emery (Morgan’s dad), thank you so much for the announcements before the collection.  You hit all the points perfectly, and it was especially nice that some of Amy’s professional accomplishments were brought out.  She is an unsung hero, for certain.  And, I appreciated the reference to Joshua in walking around the building 7 times.  That was great!
Parents, thank you for the effort of bringing your children out to practice.  Schedules are very busy, and we appreciate that you bring your musicians out.  Not only that, but all the encouragement at home for the kids to practice.  It makes a huge difference.  The kids are why we do what we do!
Friends, thank you for coming out on Wednesdays and encouraging the kids!  Having that wealth of knowledge right in the rehearsal room has been invaluable.  You are appreciated much more than you know!
It takes a lot of folks working together to make a concert like this happen, and it is my hope that I haven’t left anyone out who has played a part (no pun intended) in supporting the orchestra.  If I have, please forgive me.
Once again, many thanks to everyone.  We’re looking forward to seeing you in the spring!  We will start February 5th.  Stay tuned!  (ok, that time the pun was intentional)
May your Thanksgiving and Holiday Season be filled with family and friends, making beautiful memories!


May 10, 2019:

Congratulations, South Jersey Youth Orchestra & Friends!
What an amazing performance!  Again!
This was another ambitious program, and once again, you have risen to the challenge brilliantly!  Miss Amy is again OVER-THE-TOP proud of each and every one of you!!
And, it was a special treat not only to hear Miss Amy perform, but also to have Mr. Jack Moore conduct.  A show-stopping combination!
Miss Amy and the SJYO & Friends wish to extend a special thank you to the following:
Parents:  Without you, this would not be possible!
Students:  For working hard to put on such an excellent performance.
The “And Friends” for all the support and education you provide at each rehearsal.
Miss Jean Rickets, for all her support over the years, and for securing the performance venue for us.
Mr. Steve Lipinski, for the audio and visual recording and editing.  He always does an amazing job!
Miss Jill, for announcing.
Mr. Emery, Morgan’s Dad, for announcing.
Mr. Jack Moore, for conducting for and playing with us.
Mr. Mike Mudrak, for a great job on timpani.
Mr. Zachary Weckesser, for a great job on snare drum.
Miss Anne Levinson, for training our flautists.
The audience, for your huge show of support for these fine young musicians and your encouragement.
Join us in July for Summer Music Camp, details available on the orchestra’s website:
See you in the Fall for our next concert season!  Save the date – we begin Wednesday, September 12th.
Have a wonderful summer!
Chris Snyder for Miss Amy Weckesser

January 27, 2019

Hi South Jersey Youth Orchestra and Friends!!!

I wanted to take a second to congratulate and Thank you for an absolutely amazing concert!!!! Having a make up concert wasn’t so bad after all!!!  It was a fantastic concert and I couldn’t be happier!

I will see you in February! ??? we have picked the music and Miss Chris will have it up to download!!
Love , Miss Amy


May 5th 2018

Hello SJYO AND FRIENDS , I’m sorry this is a little late. As many of you know , my father has been sick and yesterday was the first day this week I was able to give my full attention to arranging for his care.

I have to tell you, you guys put on a spectacular concert! I’m still smiling about your performance and as Mr Steve posts his amazing videos of. The concert. I become proud all over again!! Thanks again Mr. Steve!

The concert program was full of Challenging music and you guys handled it as if it was no apparent problem! You guys played a lot of notes Thursday evening!!

Thanks to everyone for all your help in putting these concerts together. Miss Chris for keeping me organized and the whole orchestra well informed. The Davis’s for hosting us at Laurel Hill Bible Church! Miss Jill for making the programs and designing plus donating the car magnets , plus all of our “ and friends” that come out to help and teach! Bob Cafaro for coming out and Performing with us. I’m sure I have missed someone ?.

I look forward to starting another fantastic season in the fall!!

Love Always, Miss Amy ❤


Hello Everyone,

I know this message is late going out, but Miss Amy was not late in posting the following congratulations on Facebook the very next day (I think she is SUPER, OVER-THE-TOP-PROUD of you all, and with very good reason):

Bravo, South Jersey Youth orchestra and Friends!!! I can’t tell you how proud and grateful I am. Last nights performance was amazing!! It certainly wasn’t an easy program ! But , as usual you rose to the challenge.( maybe a little later than I would have liked?). Thank you to everyone that helped to make everything run smoothly and Thank you to our “ and Friends” Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!
Although I am sending this message on behalf of Miss Amy,  please know that the sentiments are hers, and I am only the mouthpiece.  She is super-proud of and pleased with everyone’s performance!!
Once again, you all did a beautiful job with the concert, and Miss Amy would like to take this opportunity to make a few acknowledgements:
Firstly, our orchestra grew this year!
Our newest percussionist, Zachary Weckesser, made his debut on Polar Express, and did an amazing job!!  Looking quite dapper and just so very cute in his tuxedo, he stole the show!!  Great job, Zachary!!  We’re all looking forward to watching you grow and to performing with you in the future!
We also have a new woodwind.  Laura Schultz, our newest ‘And Friend’, made her debut on oboe for this concert, and did a beautiful job of it!  Thank you, Laura!  We are looking forward to many more future concerts with your talent on oboe.
Next, we would like to take a quick look back to last Spring with our young percussionist, Chris, who absolutely wowed us on set drum with Lord of the Dance.  Well, we were very fortunate to have him back this concert on Polar Express!  Thank you, Chris!  You totally rocked it!  With you and Zachary together on percussion, we cannot wait to see what the future will bring!
We would like to acknowledge the Davis family for bringing the concert to Laurel Hill Bible Church for the Fall, 2017 concert semester.  We were quite well-attended at over 100 folks in audience.  We would also like to acknowledge Adam Davis for his work with the sound and recordings. It’s a huge undertaking, and we greatly appreciate your work so that we can have these recordings.  Thank you!  We also would like to acknowledge Alison Davis for her talent in organizing this event to be held at Laurel Hill.  There is a lot that happens behind-the-scenes which no one sees, but would be very obvious if it were not done well.  Thank you, Alison, for your work in bringing this to pass at an awesome venue!
We also would like to acknowledge and thank Mr. Steve Lipinski for his tireless efforts and talent in video recordings of the concert.  I believe you all received the links by email a while ago, and they can also be found on his YouTube channel at Pinner94.  Thank you so much for your work with not only the recordings, but also the behind-the-scenes post-footage work getting it edited and onto the internet so we can all see.  That takes a lot of time, and we appreciate your efforts!
A heartfelt thanks goes out the the Emery family, not only for giving us Morgan, an outstanding up-and-coming clarinetist, but also for taking so many great pictures of the orchestra as well as some candid shots.  We need great pics of the orchestra to stay up-to-date, and we appreciate your photography talents!  Thank you!
Next we would like to thank the pastor of Immanuel Orthodox Presbyterian Church for providing a great place for us to practice on Monday nights and Wednesday afternoons.  We want you to know that we appreciate your willingness to work with us and provide a nice place for us to rehearse.  Thank you!!
We also would like to thank all of the parents who made the effort to take their young musicians back and forth to all the rehearsals and in reminding them to practice the music.  We absolutely could not have an orchestra on this level if it were not for you, the parents, working behind-the-scenes.  Thank you for the opportunity to work with, play with, and grow musically with your student musicians!
Miss Amy would like to thank all of the ‘And Friends’ who come out to practice with the orchestra, as well as those who take time to come out, play and support the orchestra on performance night!  Truly, we could not do this without you, and we appreciate your investment of time, teaching, and talent in these students.  I know that I personally have never seen anyone who has such a white-hot passion for encouraging musical skill and developing talent in young folks as Miss Amy has.  It is such a wonderful, huge blessing to have seasoned musicians come out and help her in that endeavor.  From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU!
Now, let me switch it up a bit.  I would like to take a moment to thank our gifted Conductor, Miss Amy Patton Weckesser, for all the work, all the instruction, and yes, I daresay love, she has put into every rehearsal and effort to bring this concert to pass.  I am astounded at the many things with which she has to deal in order to bring a concert to pass, and I only got a tiny peek of that.  In addition to her regular teaching schedule, she has had to overcome voice challenges (from which she is still healing) and carry on with her demanding personal schedule while putting her all into rehearsing us for this performance.  So, on behalf of the orchestra, I take the liberty right now to say THANK YOU, Miss Amy, for all that you do for us, most of which we never see.  We only enjoy the result of your tireless work.  We appreciate you so much!  The gift of music is one that lasts a lifetime.  Just as I can never pick up my instrument without thinking of my former teacher, I am certain that no student who has ever had the privilege of sitting under your professional instruction, will ever be able to pick up their instrument without thinking of you.  What an impact, and lifelong gift.  You are appreciated so much more than you will ever know.
From Miss Amy to everyone involved with the Fall, 2017 performance, a heartfelt “Thank You”!  Enjoy your holiday and your time off.  Looking forward to seeing you on February 7th for the start of our Spring, 2018 season!
-Chris Snyder for Amy Weckesser



Dear SJYO & Friends,

Miss Amy would like everyone to know that she is SUPER-PROUD of each and every one of you for your performance on Thursday night!!!  She said it is just not possible for her to be any more proud than she already is!  Everyone worked very hard over this concert season, and it showed on Thursday night.  Hard work does indeed pay off, and every season is just better than the last!

The soloists were simply amazing!

The ‘And Friends’ are so greatly appreciated for taking the time to come out, both rehearsing and performing with these exceptional young folks.  These young people’s musical experience is greatly enriched by having the opportunity to play alongside you mentors.  It’s a benefit unlike any other!  Your performance with the group also strengthens and brings forth the best of the orchestra.  Thank you so very much!!

And what can we say about our young percussionist?  Your talent on Lord of the Dance is unparalleled!  You were the heartbeat of the orchestra, and I think everyone agrees that your performance was jaw-dropping, top-notch!  Lord of the Dance really brought down the house!! Thank you so much for coming out and adding to the orchestra in a way that no one else could.

We also wish to thank those who took pictures and recordings of the concert and posted them to the SJYO & Friend’s Facebook page.  As we work to revamp the website, this updated media will be invaluable.  Thank you so very much!  Everyone plays a part, and does it well.  (no pun intended, lol)

Taking a look ahead for Fall, 2017, remember that Miss Amy will be rehearsing for performance Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, with a full choral compliment.  I distributed the link for the music last November, but here it is again:,_Op.125_(Beethoven,_Ludwig_van)

Clarinets note:  If you scroll down past all of the parts, there are Bb transpositions, so none will need to be written.  Yay!

We have all summer long to practice and come thoroughly prepared to our first rehearsal, which will be on Wednesday, September 6th.  I know this is early, but Miss Amy feels (and I wholeheartedly agree) that this particular performance will be best served by having the additional two weeks to prepare as a group.  More details will be sent a little closer to the start date.

Thank you all again, so very much, for all your hard work!  Everyone is important and makes a big difference, adding to the orchestra and making it better.

Have a happy, fun summer!

Best regards,

Chris Snyder for Miss Amy