Hoosier Youth Philharmonic
The combined orchestras of Bloomington High School North and Bloomington High School South
The orchestra program of the Bloomington schools dates back to the early part of the last century, with archives indicating participation in the Indiana State Music contests as early as the 1920s. The famous Indiana educator and musician, Newell Long, was at one time the director of the orchestra. Bloomington High School South (BHSS) assumed the history and heritage of Bloomington High School when the new high school, Bloomington High School North (BHSN) opened in the fall of 1971. BHSN was built as a result of the school consolidation in 1968 which formed the Monroe County Community School Corporation. Unionville High School, Smithville High School, and University High School were incorporated into the new BHSN.
In 1980 Ms. Jane Gouker became the orchestra director at BHSS. In 1982 she also became the director of the BHSN orchestra. The unique scheduling of the same director for both high schools created new opportunities. The orchestras could be combined on a regular basis to create a larger, more complete ensemble. In 1986, the combined BHSN and BHSS orchestra traveled to St. Louis, Missouri, to compete in the Gateway Music Festival. It was a very successful venture, musically, educationally, and socially. A new tradition had been born! From then on, the orchestra students committed to the hard work and dedication it would require to ensure a yearly competitive tour. It became awkward to enter the contests as “The Bloomington High School North and Bloomington High School South Orchestra,” so the orchestra executive councils held a contest to name the group. Hoosier Youth Philharmonic was the winning entry. It couldn’t be more perfect for it describes where we are from, who we are, and what we do!
Each of these three orchestras (BHSN Orchestra, BHSS Orchestra, and the Hoosier Youth Philharmonic) has its own history and traditions. The walls of the orchestra rooms at BHSN and BHSS are filled with plaques and awards for superior ratings the groups have earned, group and individual pictures, group and individual awards, and plaques, banners and pennants of festivals attended as the Hoosier Youth Philharmonic (HYP). Each school orchestra performs at its own school’s open house, the ISSMA organizational contest, elementary school tour, graduation, and various other school functions. Student volunteers perform in a variety of special ensembles such as Chili Supper, Lotus Festival, school receptions, String Spring Fling, and the MCCSC Retirement Reception. As the Hoosier Youth Philharmonic, students from both schools perform together for the Fall Concert, Night of Dance Concert, Holiday Concert, String Spectacular, HYP/BSO Concert, Night of Musical Celebration, and the annual competitive tour. Each student must earn the credits and the money for the tour each year. It is an amazing goal, and is never taken for granted. This wonderful ensemble is the best of young people today.
The HYP is perhaps best described as a family. While North and South students regularly compete in sports and academics, the orchestra students from these two schools perform, work and play together. Alumni and their parents regularly return to support the program that was their “family.” These students support each other, and represent their own schools, the HYP, and the Bloomington community in an exemplary fashion. The students of the Hoosier Youth Philharmonic are always “a cut above”.
In May of 2016, Jane retired, and the baton has been passed to the new director, Mr. Jon Hansen. New things are on the horizon, but the quality, musicianship, and work ethic of the HYP remain.