Corpus Christi Area Youth Orchestra
The Corpus Christi Area Youth Orchestra (CCAYO) has been an educational branch of the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra since 1996. The program, founded in the 1950s, was originally an extension of the Corpus Christi Independent School District.
Today, over 100 students representing 36 schools participate in one of four ensembles. The CCAYO provides two full orchestras (strings, winds and percussion), an intermediate string ensemble and one elementary string class for instrumental students from 8-19 years of age. Each CCAYO ensemble performs at least twice a year.
Thanks to our community sponsors, area instrumental students participate without charge.
Become a Member
To become a member of the Corpus Christi Area Youth Orchestra, students must audition to be placed in an ensemble or string class. Parents of all members, new or returning, are required to attend the parent orientation meeting to register members for the coming season. Returning members are guaranteed placement in one of the ensembles, without having to audition, when their membership renewal form is completed, signed and turned in at the parent orientation.
Members are expected to provide a personal or school instrument for rehearsal and performance use (percussion instruments provided). Some members will be required to purchase music books. Rehearsals take place on Sunday afternoons and are held at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.
FRequently Asked Questions
My child is a beginner player, can he/she join the orchestra?
All students joining one of the ensembles of the Corpus Christi Area Youth orchestra have to have previous experience in ensemble playing.
How do I know in what orchestra my child will be placed?
At this time the CCAYO has been suspended due to the Covid Crisis. Please check back for updated information.
What should my child wear for concerts?
Black pants and white blouse for girls and black pants and white dress shirt for boys. All black is also acceptable. No jeans, no tennis shoes.
Meet Our Directors
Dr. Jose Flores - Director
Dr. Jose Flores is a great advocate of orchestral music education, an accomplished professional musician and an experienced orchestral conductor. He is the Director of Orchestral Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and he has been professor of violin and viola at the university since 2006. Dr. Flores is on the faculty of Youth Classics Master Classes in Europe, where he teaches violin and viola and coaches chamber music ensembles. He serves as permanent guest faculty for the Academia Latino Americana de Violin (Latin-American Violin Academy). As one of the pioneer teachers in El Sistema, Dr. Flores taught in a program which today transforms the lives of more than 500,000 of Venezuela’s most vulnerable children by giving them the chance to excel as young musicians.
He enjoys a performance career spanning six countries including South Korea, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Venezuela and the United States. In 2012 he appeared at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital in a performance with Dragonov and Friends. Here in Corpus Christi, he is a violinist in the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra. In addition to many other solo and recital performances, he regularly performs as a chamber musician with the Islander String Players.
Dr. Flores holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Arizona. He also holds a Master of Music and a Bachelor of Music from the Aaron Copeland School of Music in New York. The 2016-17 season marks the eighth year Dr. Flores has served as Director of the Corpus Christi Area Youth Orchestra.
Dr. Melissa Melendez - Assistant Director
CCAYO Assistant Director Melissa Melendez is a member of the Islander String Trio at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (A&M-Corpus Christi), principal violist for the Victoria Symphony, principal violist for the Kingsville Symphony and member of the Corpus Christi Symphony. Melendez is also the Director of the Suzuki Program at the A&M-Corpus Christi Blanche Davis Moore Early Childhood Development Center.
Melendez has performed with the University of Arizona Symphony Orchestra as the 2004 winner of the President’s Competition held at the University of Arizona, in addition to the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi String Orchestra, the Kingsville Symphony and the Balcones Symphony in Austin. In 2012, Melendez was featured in the world premiere of Venezuelan composer Gonzalos Castellano’s Concerto for Viola and Orchestra with the Carabobo Symphony in Venezuela.
Melendez holds a Bachelor’s in Music from Louisiana State University, a Master’s in Music from The Cleveland Institute of Music, an Artist Diploma from Duquesne University and a Doctorate in Musical Arts from the University of Arizona.