creative:impact - Lifelong Lessons And Relationships Through The Ypsilanti Youth Orchestra

Apr 9, 2019

Solana Howard (center) and her Ypsilanti Youth Orchestra mentees, Jasmine Patterson and Melody Korkmaz.
Credit Solana Howard

The Ypsilanti Youth Orchestra will celebrate its 20th anniversary later this month.  In "creative:impact," WEMU's David Fair and Deb Polich of The Arts Alliance introduce you to Solana Howard.  She'll discuss the benefits from participation in the YYO and why she now serves as a program mentor. 

Deb Polich, President and CEO of the Arts Alliance

Creative industries in Washtenaw County add hundreds of millions of dollars to the local economy.  In the weeks and months to come, 89.1 WEMU's David Fair and co-host Deb Polich, the President and CEO of The Arts Alliance, explore the myriad of contributors that make up the creative sector in Washtenaw County.

About the Ypsilanti Youth Orchestra

Founded in 1999, the Ypsilanti Youth Orchestra is a non-profit organization offing music education and performance opportunities to students between the ages of three and 18.   YYO serves youth of diverse backgrounds and socioeconomic status, is tuition free for students and families, and provides more than two hundred Ypsilanti area children with access to music education. YYO and its constituent classes cultivate students’ creative needs and aspirations, from a blossoming interest in music to participating in the advanced symphony orchestra, preparing them along the way for a life of engaged citizenship.  The leaders of YYO and its teaching artists strive to develop students as musicians and well-rounded and thoughtful individuals. 

About Solana Howard

(From L to R) Solana Howard and Deb Polich
Credit David Fair / 89.1 WEMU

Solana is currently a sophomore in the Environmental Science and Society program here at EMU.  She joined the Ypsilanti Youth Orchestra at eight years old. She stayed with the Ypsilanti Youth Orchestra for nine years and, after graduating in 2017, became a mentor for the flute section of the YYO. 


Ypsilanti Youth Orchestra

YYO's 20th Anniversary Celebration

The Arts Alliance

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at 734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at