About Olathe Youth Symphony Association

Our Mission

The purpose of OYSA, in cooperation with public and private schools, is to foster advanced level musical opportunities for talented young musicians in the southern Johnson County and metropolitan Kansas City area. We believe that every young person with outstanding ability and a willingness to work hard should be given the opportunity to develop their musical skills through the performance of quality orchestral literature.

Dedicated to the musical education and growth of our young musicians, we provide performance opportunities, motivational workshops, small group instruction, mentoring, and quality social interaction. Our season runs from September to April with two or three major performances.

A Brief History

In the spring of 1992, members of the Olathe School District Orchestra staff developed a master plan to help strengthen and enhance musical experiences for students. The formation of a youth symphony within the Olathe community was the highest priority within this master plan.

Soon after, Bob Peter organized the business aspects, while Randy Detrick and Greg Ferguson set musical standards and established performance-related guidelines. Mary Jo Peter would soon fill the position as Executive Director, running the day-to-day operations of the organization for the next 12 years.

During the first four years, the youth symphony consisted of one group of approximately 75 members. William Detrick and Greg Ferguson shared conducting and rehearsal duties. During the fifth year, the Philharmonic Orchestra was formed to meet the needs of younger musicians.

Today, the Olathe Youth Symphony Association consists of two orchestras, the Philharmonic Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra. All groups rehearse on Monday evenings and perform two to three times per concert season, which runs from September to mid-April.

Board of Directors

    • Alison Banikowski, President
    • Martha Gabel, Vice President
    • William Detrick
    • Terri Detrick
    • Greg Ferguson
    • Susan Ferguson
    • Chris Kusek
    • Earl Martin
    • Rachel Morris
    • Chad Niehoff
    • Texanna Ollenberger
    • Ken Roberts
    • Sara Smitko




  • William R. Detrick – Symphony Orchestra (Founding Director)
      • Bachelor and of Music Education, Kansas State University
      • Master of Music Education/Conducting, Kansas State University
      • Director of Symphony Orchestra, 1993-Present
      • Olathe School District Orchestra Program Facilitator, 31 years
      • Public School Band, Orchestra, Jazz Band Director, 39 years
      • Olathe Arts Alliance, Board of Directors
      • Music Educator National Conference, Member
      • Kansas Music Educators Association, Member
      • American String Teachers Association, Member
      • International Association of Jazz Educators, Member
  • Gregory Ferguson – Symphony Orchestra (Founding Director)
      • Bachelor of Music Education, University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory
      • Master of Liberal Arts, Baker University
      • Olathe Public School Teacher, 1985-Present
      • Director of Orchestras at Olathe South High School, 1987-Present
      • Music Educators National Conference, Member
      • American String Teachers Association, Member
      • Kansas Music Educators Association, Member
  • Danny Kaul – Philharmonic Orchestra
      • Bachelor of Music Education degree from Northern State University
      • Master of Music Education degree from Northern State University
      • Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra, 2009-Present
      • Olathe School District Band and Orchestra Staff Member, Present
      • Southeast South Dakota Area Band Festival, Guest Conductor
      • International Society of Bassists, Member
  • Rachele Jones – Philharmonic Orchestra
      • Concert Master and Member of Honors Fetter Quartet, Washburn University
      • Director of Philharmonic Orchestra, 2009-Present
      • Former Olathe School District Orchestra Staff Member
      • Topeka Symphony, Former Member

Please let us know if you would like to donate to the Olathe Youth Symphony Association or would like to audition for next season!