Oklahoma Youth Orchestras
2501 N. Blackwelder
Oklahoma City OK 73106
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Mission Statement
Through quality instrumental music education programs for students and accessible cultural offerings for the community, Oklahoma Youth Orchestras provides opportunities for artistic excellence to central and western Oklahoma.
OYO at the Civic Center Music Hall
Contact Information
Contact Name Melody Fisher Garza
Contact email mgarza@oyomusic.org
Address 2501 N. Blackwelder
Oklahoma City, OK 73106
Phone (405) 232-1199
County Oklahoma
How to Give
Donate to Endowment http://occf.org/gfhap/
Other ways to donate, support or volunteer
Donations can be made online at www.oyomusic.org/support, mailed to our office or we can take gifts by phone. Plenty of volunteer opportunities are available on Monday evening rehearsals and at concerts! To find out more about how you can help, please contact Melody Fisher Garza, Executive Director, at mgarza@oyomusic.org or by calling 405-232-1199.
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $303,423.00
Projected Expenses $302,347.00
History and Background
Former Names
Oklahoma Youth Orchestra1989
The Guy Fraser Harrison Academy for the Performing Arts Inc.2012
Year Founded 1977
IRS Ruling Year 1987
State Registration Expiration May 2017
Through quality instrumental music education programs for students and accessible cultural offerings for the community, Oklahoma Youth Orchestras provides opportunities for artistic excellence to central and western Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma Youth Orchestras were founded in 1977 as the Guy Fraser Harrison Academy for the Performing Arts, and has grown since that time to eleven ensembles serving 400 students from the Central Oklahoma area. The program includes two full orchestras (Oklahoma Youth Orchestra and Oklahoma Youth Philharmonic), two auditioned string ensembles (Chamber Orchestra and Sinfonia), a wind ensemble (Oklahoma Youth Winds), and four non-auditioned string ensembles (Festival Strings) in different communities (Bethany, Edmond, Midwest City, and Norman). The organization also supports a Rockin' Strings Orchestra, a chamber music program of Honor Quartets and a Quintet, Percussion Ensemble, and the Summer Symphony Strings day camp for middle school students. The program has a continuing partnership with Oklahoma City University, where its auditioned ensembles rehearse. Concerts are held during the academic year throughout the metropolitan area; each ensemble performs a minimum of four times per concert season. 
  1. Performed at the annual conference of the Oklahoma Music Educators Association in Tulsa
  2. Auditioned a near-record number of students for upcoming concert season
  3. Performed with local guest artists
  4. Hosted the organization's first Open House and Bonfire, social and recruiting initiatives led by the Student Advisory Board 
  1. Reach more students and diversify the current program offerings of the organization
  2. Increase artistic excellence while educating students and families through Board-led intiatives including SuperFamilies and outreach opportunities
  3. Develop new and improved collaborations with fellow Oklahoma organizations, in both arts and human services
  4. Increase operational capacity of administrative staff
  1. Create new programming and artistic partnerships to better serve the orchestral students throughout our state.
  2. Increase partnerships and support from the community while branding the organization as the premier source for students to further their instrumental music education.
  3. Increase size of board of directors to move from parent-based to community-based membership
  4. Continue efforts to better publicize organization in the community
  5. Increase volunteer base to assist staff
CEO/Executive Director Statement
Oklahoma Youth Orchestras brings talented, motivated students together with the best state's professional conductors and musicians. Eightyfive percent of the students are from public schools; the remaining fifteen percent attend private school or are home schooled. It is a requirement that all students be enrolled in their school orchestra or band, if one exists. The OYO program serves as a supplement to, not substitute for, school music programs. Students who participate in youth orchestras nationwide are the future members, funders, and audiences of arts organizations.
Area Served
Area Served
Geographic Area Served
Oklahoma - Statewide
Oklahoma Youth Orchestras serves students from all over central and western Oklahoma.
Service Categories
Secondary Organizational Category Arts,Culture & Humanities/Symphony Orchestras
Tertiary Organizational Category Arts,Culture & Humanities/Arts Education
Description The core, auditioned ensembles of the Oklahoma Youth Orchestras generally serve students grades 3 through 12. The Oklahoma Youth Orchestra (OYO) and Oklahoma Youth Philharmonic (OYP) are the organization's full orchestras for high school students. These ensembles focus on advanced musicianship, standard repertoire and interesting performance opportunities. The Oklahoma Youth Winds (OYW) is a weekly honor band experience. The Chamber Orchestra and Sinfonia are designed for middle school and late elementary students. These string orchestras focus on continued skill development, solidifying of proper playing technique and performing as a cohesive ensemble.
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years)
Description The non-auditioned program of the Oklahoma Youth Orchestras, the Festival Strings Program acts as an a feeder program for our core ensembles. Students in late elementary and early middle school with one year of ensemble experience and the ability to read music are welcome to join the program. The Festivals Strings are comprised of four satellite locations (Norman, Edmond, Oklahoma City and Mid-Del) that come together as one ensemble in performance.     
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years)
Description Created as a pop and rock string orchestra, Rockin' Strings explores everything from Katy Perry to Led Zepplin and famous movie music to today's to hits! Students will still explore proper technique and challenge their musicianship while preparing for their fun and unique concerts. This program does not require an audition. We are excited to offer this pilot program without an audition to students grades 7 through 9.
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years)
Description Percussionists enrolled in OYO, OYP and OYW are offered this additional ensemble opportunity FREE. Students explore additional playing opportunities and instruments as they prepare repertoire to perform as part of the organization's concert series.
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Program Success MonitoringHelpDescription of the tools used to measure or track program impact. Percussionists currently enrolled in the OYO, OYP and OYW are offered this additional opportunity FREE. Students explore additional playing opportunities and instruments weekly as they prepare their own repertoire for the organization's concert series.

Middle-school age students in central Oklahoma do not currently have a summer orchestral camp opportunity. While great organization such as Oklahoma Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain provide superb arts-education to high school students during the summer and local universities provide instrument-specific intensives, younger students are not offered a similar experience to continue challenging their music education during the summer months in an ensemble setting.

Designed as a summer day-camp experience for students grades 6 through 9, Summer Symphony Strings allows students to make new friends, work as a team and use their creative skills while making music with friends from all over central Oklahoma. During the week-long camp, students work with nationally renowned string educators who push their skills while creating an enjoyable music-making environment. Students receive one-on-one instruction during sectionals with some of Oklahoma's finest music educators. These sectional coaches travel with their students throughout the day to provide proximity assistance to the conductors and build bonds with their students. The camp is comprised of two orchestras (totally 75-100 students each) who work daily in full-rehearsal and sectionals as well as recreational team building activities. The camp culminates in a Friday night performance for family and community members that celebrates their achievements during camp.

Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Comments on Programs
CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments
One of the greater challenges is to maintain the quality of performance and education and attracting the most talented students with the increased number of activities available to students. Through the music selected and the quality of the conducting staff, the board and staff continue to work to publicize the organization and stress its unique opportunities for each student's future.
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Melody Fisher Garza
Start Date Jan 2017
Email mgarza@oyomusic.org

Melody Fisher Garza is the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Youth Orchestras; an organization dedicated to the education and development of student musicians throughout the state. Melody previously worked in development with the California Symphony and Spokane Symphony. Passionate about both the transformative power of live music and empowering young people to pursue excellence, she is dedicated to growing the organization’s capacity to bring people together through musical experiences and help build a brighter future, as students mature and go on to impact their world for good.

Creativity, strategic partnerships, and elements of fun have long been prevalent in Melody's fundraising. Highlights of her career thus far include a goal-exceeding fundraiser event collaborating with a cirque troupe to perform right in front of dinner guests while the California Symphony performed, complete with a juggler at the auction table; and a $50,000 campaign for Spokane Symphony to pay off the mortgage on their beautifully restored historic 1931 Art Deco theater, complete with an onstage mortgage burning and confetti canons. Melody holds a Masters of Arts in Music from Eastern Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts from Whitworth University in Music Education and Bassoon Performance. Prior to her work in arts fundraising, she taught beginning band and kindergarten general music for the Cheney School District. She studied bassoon with Lynne Feller-Marshall, principal bassoonist of the Spokane Symphony. As a proponent of leadership training through marching band, Melody also has her First Class certification from the Smith Walbridge Clinics and served as an adjudicator at the Harvest Marching Band Festival for several years.

Melody is greatly anticipating her upcoming wedding to Cris Garza, clarinetist and Clinical Instructor and Contact Lens Specialist at Dean McGee Eye Institute/University of Oklahoma. In May, Melody and Cris will tie the knot in the very same Fox Theater in Spokane Washington where Melody worked and Cris performed with various ensembles, including conducting the Spokane Youth Orchestra.


Number of Full-time Staff 2
Number of Part-time Staff 14
Number of Contract Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 70
Staff Retention Rate 100
Are professional development opportunities provided? Yes
Does CEO/Executive Director have formal evaluations? Yes
Management reports to board? Yes
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 14
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 2 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 6
Female 10
Not Specified 0
Organizational Plans
Fundraising Plan Yes
Policy against commission-based compensation for fundraising consultant No
Communication Plan Yes
Strategic Plan Yes
Number of Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Date Strategic Plan Adopted Aug 2014
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Organization Policies and Procedures Yes
Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Canterbury Choral Society, Oklahoma City University, NewView Oklahoma, Creativity Oklahoma, Oklahoma Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain.
Allied Arts member agency2000
Risk Management Provisions
Workers Compensation and Employers' Liability
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government (federal, state and/or local)? No
Board Chair
Name Mr. Rich Green
Company Affiliation Continental Resources
Term Apr 2016 to Apr 2018
Email richard.green@clr.com
Board of Directors
List Current as of Jan 11, 2017
Board of Directors List
Dr. Mark Belcik Oklahoma City UniversityExofficio
Mr. Greg Bowes Ford Audio/VideoVoting
Mrs. Catherine Brown
Mrs. Ginny Evans Foundation ManagementVoting
Mr. Richard Green Continental ResourcesVoting
Mr. Paul Hagemeier Chesapeake EnergyVoting
Dr. Kay Holt
Mrs. Peggy Kahre
Mr. Federick Mischler Edward JonesVoting
Dean Mark Parker Oklahoma City UniversityExofficio
Mr. Edward Walker Oklahoma City PhilharmonicExofficio
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 11
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 7
Female 4
Board Term Lengths 2 years
Percentage of Board Making Monetary Contributions to the Organization 100 %
Percentage of Board Making In-Kind Contributions to the Organization 42 %
Board Orientation Yes
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Standing Committees
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Community Outreach / Community Relations
Program / Program Planning
Youth Board
Youth Board Members
Matthew Baier
Jacob Black
Noah Bowles
Nathan Brown
Catherine Brown
Raquel Coleman
Megan Green
Christina Li student
Amanda Pan
Katie Prior
Comments on Board & Governance
CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments The Board of Directors has undergone a renaissance over the past three years, moving from a parent-based group focused on operations to a broader constituency including professionals with arts and fundraising backgrounds working at the committee level to pursue a strategic plan to grow students, grow experiences, grow outreach, grow support, and grow operations. 
Current Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year June 01, 2016-July 31, 2017
Current Year Budgeted Total Income $303,423
Current Year Budgeted Total Expenses $302,347
Financial Documents
IRS Letter of Determination
Prior Three Years' Financial History
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201420132012
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$8,750$10,000$11,079
Individual Contributions$15,507$8,561$52,376
Investment Income, Net of Losses$3,748$3,651$4,133
Unrealized Gain/Loss------
Membership Dues------
Special Events--$2,370--
Revenue In-Kind$10,444$10,877--
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201420132012
Program Expense$199,114$195,236$190,155
Administration Expense$34,575$23,865$23,310
Fundraising Expense------
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.020.970.91
Program Expense/Total Expenses85%89%89%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201420132012
Total Assets$83,778$77,158$76,955
Current Assets$80,594$75,316$75,526
Long-Term Liabilities------
Current Liabilities$44,217$42,757$34,972
Total Net Assets$39,561$34,401$41,983
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities1.821.762.16
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Funding Sources
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201420132012
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountEarned Revenue $122,609Earned Revenue $116,502Earned Revenue $124,796
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFoundation & Corporations $61,517Foundations & Corporations $48,412Individuals $52,376
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountOther $16,274Other $11,146Govt - Unspecified $11,079
Endowment? Yes
Endowment Spending Policy Income Only
Endowment Spending Policy Percentage (if selected) 5 %
Credit Line? Yes
Reserve Fund? Yes
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Comments on Financials
CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments For the 2016 fiscal year, the organization has moved to a July 1-June 30th. Because of this, the 2015 fiscal year is a short 10-month from September 1-June 30th in order to move fiscal years.
Foundation Staff Comments
2012 financial information is from IRS Form 990.
2013 & 2014 financial information are from reviewed financial statements. 
Address 2501 N. Blackwelder
Oklahoma City, OK 73106
Primary Phone 405 232-1199
Contact Email mgarza@oyomusic.org
Give to Endowment http://occf.org/gfhap/
CEO/Executive Director Melody Fisher Garza
Board Chair Mr. Rich Green
Board Chair Company Affiliation Continental Resources


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