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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world. To listen to KPAC 88.3 FM, simply open the player in the gray ribbon at the top of this page and choose KPAC: Classical Music.

New YOSA Executive Director Looks To Reach More Kids

One of San Antonio’s iconic cultural attributes gets a new leader, although to call him new might be a slight exaggeration.

“I’m really excited about it. I’ve been interim director for the past year,” said Brandon Henson, who has worked at Youth Orchestras of San Antonio for quite some time but is now their executive director.

“(We've) got a lot of exciting opportunities ahead with YOSA," he said.

Turns out Henson has an interesting backstory himself.

“Before coming to YOSA I was a professional musician," he said. "I was based out of Branson, Missouri, and I was bassist for Mr. Andy Williams for the last part of his performing career.”

And that’s not the only part of his backstory that gives him perspective.

“When I was in high school I was a part of my youth orchestra for that community, and I understand the impact that we have on young people,” Henson said.

His plans for YOSA are to have more impact on more kids.

"We are actually expanding out next year; we are adding two more orchestras to our regular roster of orchestras," said Henson. "Long term we’re looking at reaching more kids, and still, at the same time, keeping this amazing excellence in music.”

Youth Orchestras of San Antonio create and run eight separate orchestras that play throughout the school year.

“And we take ages eight to 20, with at least one year of experience,” Henson explained.

Afterschool practices hone the kids’ talents with their instrument, and playing in the orchestra gives them context. Henson said there’s often a long-range relationship that young people have with YOSA.

“Kids can move from orchestra to orchestra throughout a period of time and stay with us, and get to the top level of YOSA, which is the YOSA Philharmonic,” he said.

And Henson notes, the philharmonic will soon have a special venue.

“YOSA Philharmonic will have all their Gold Series concerts in the Tobin Center,” he said.