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Harney County Arts in Education Foundation

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." ~ Albert Einstein  


Please visit "News & Events" for important information and announcements! ~


Oregon Experience premiered the story about Mary Dodge, the PYP and the Sagebrush Symphony on November 9, 2009 on Oregon Public Broadcasting.  Click the photo of Mary Dodge with her Sagebrush Symphony Studio below to access the Sagebrush Symphony pages at OPB which include archival photos, links and other information, in addition to video of the show.



The Portland Youth Philharmonic’s roots extend back to Harney County and the Sagebrush Symphony Orchestra.  The vibrant and talented violinist, Mary Dodge, arrived in Burns, Oregon in 1910.  She began sharing her musical gifts with the local children, playing for them in a tent at her husband’s engineering camp.  Funds were secured to purchase instruments from Harney County rancher, Bill Hanley, lawyer and artist C.E.S. Wood and Burns businessmen.  Under Mary Dodge’s careful instruction, the children began to learn to play their instruments.  By 1912, the group had become the Sagebrush Symphony Orchestra and the first concert was performed.


The vision of Mary Dodge led the orchestra to achieve musical excellence in a very short time.  The Sagebrush Symphony Orchestra toured Eastern Oregonwith the Redpath Chautauqua programs in 1915.  Concert tours to Portland soon followed and the 35 member orchestra enthralled their listeners with their musical achievements.  The group was housed at the Imperial Hotel and for three performances, people stood in line for a city block to hear the young musicians.  They also performed for the state fair in Salem and won $100 for their efforts.


In 1918, Mary Dodge left Harney County and moved to Portland accompanied by several students of the original orchestra including Ruth Saunders and Gwendolen Lampshire.  Mary Dodge continued teaching in Portland and formed an orchestra at the Irvington School.  This group became the Portland Junior Symphony and was later renamed the Portland Youth Philharmonic.


Today, the Portland Youth Philharmonic maintains the standards of musical excellence that were established through Mary Dodge and the first youth orchestra in Oregon, the Sagebrush Symphony.  The Portland Youth Philharmonic Orchestra is world renowned having toured in Europe and Asia.  Orchestral directors have included Jacques Gershkovitch, Jacob Avshalomov, Huw Edwards and Mei-Ann Chen.  Current director, David Hattner, continues the tradition of excellence with the talented student musicians of the PYP.


Harney County looks forward to welcoming the Portland Youth Philharmonic on October 30, 2010 when the orchestra will perform in concert in Burns, Oregon to honor the Centennial Celebration of the Sagebrush Symphony Orchestra.


Click the PYP Logo below to access the Portland Youth Philharmonic Association web site to read more about the PYP.


Spring Concert and Awards -- Burns High School -- May 26, 2010

The Hines Middle School Band and Burns High School Concert Band Spring Concert and end-of-year Awards Ceremony will be held in the high school cafeteria at 7 p.m.

3A State Band Competition -- Corvallis, Oregon -- May 12, 2010

Congratulations to Mr. Heinemeyer and The Burns High School Concert Band for placing 3rd at the State Band Contest!  In early Spring, 39 3A high schools from all over Oregon participated in district festivals and contests to earn the honor of representing their school at the State Band Contest.  See the band's performance LIVE at the State Band Contest on our "Video" page!

 OSAA State Solo Contest -- Mcminnville, Oregon -- May 1, 2010 

Congratulations to Talysa Hunt for earning the 2nd Place Medal in Low Clarinet!  Because of her move immediately following District Solo & Ensemble, she represented her new school, Hidden Valley, at State on paper -- but she will always be a BHS Concert Band member and representative to us!


Congratulations also to Kyle Ruggles for placing 1st in Flute.  Earning the State Solo Flute Champion Medal for three of the last four years is no small feat -- an awesome accomplishment!  See Kyle's performance LIVE at the State Solo Contest on our "Video" page!


Central Oregon Middle and High School District Honor Bands performances may be viewed LIVE on our "Video" page!



Kyle Ruggles, Burns High School Concert Band flutist and student of Pam Hughes of Bend, will perform as a member of The Central Oregon Symphony during their Fall Concert Season.  As Senior Division First Place Winner of The 2009 Central Oregon Symphony Association Young Artist Competition, Kyle will also be a featured soloist during their Winter Concert Season.  He will perform his winning piece, the third movement of the Concerto for Flute, Allegro scherzando, by Jacques Ibert.


COS Winter Concert Series Dates and Times


 February 20, 2010 @ 7:30 p.m. - February 21, 2010 @ 2:00 p.m. - February 22, 2010 @ 7:30 p.m.


All concerts will be held at the Bend High School Auditorium – 230 NE 6th St – Bend, OR  97701.  Complimentary tickets are available at the door of the auditorium on the day of the concert – while they last.  Tickets may also be obtained approximately three weeks before each concert.  For more information, you may call the Central Oregon Symphony office at (541) 317-3941 or click Kyle's picture to visit the Central Oregon Symphony web site.



Congratulations to Kyle Ruggles for being selected Principal Flute in the prestigious Oregon Music Educators Association 2010 All-State High School Orchestra.  Elite student musicians in Oregon are chosen only after careful evaluation of their recorded auditions by music educators from around the state.  Kyle will participate in a rigorous rehearsal schedule held over the course of three days that will conclude with a Gala Concert to be held at the Hult Center in Eugene on January 17th, 2010 at the completion of The Oregon Music Educators Conference, "Melodic Motion."


Central Oregon District Honor Band selections have been made.  Students who will be representing the Burns High School Concert Band at the concert at Bend High School Auditorium on January 8th, 2010 at 7 p.m. are:

Jocelena Cate - Flute

Megan Fitzpatrick - Clarinet

Bailey Johnston - Clarinet

Brandon Klawitter - Trumpet

Kyle Ruggles - Flute & Piccolo


Hines Middle School students chosen to represent their school as members of the Middle School District Honor Band are:

Peter Cain – Tuba

Thomas Cain – Flute

Maria Obradovich – Flute

Hannah Parks – Trombone

Jackson Thein – Clarinet


Four Burns High School Concert Band student musicians have been selected as members of Western Internation Band Clinic Honor Bands:


Megan Fitzpatrick (Sophomore) – Clarinet – Thunderbird Honor Band

Connor Carpentier (Senior ) – Percussion – Sunbird Honor Band

Talysa Hunt (Senior ) – Alto Clarinet – Thunderbird Honor Band

Kyle Ruggles (Senior) – Flute – Firebird Honor Band


After careful screening by music educators, four WIBC Honor Groups, each consisting of 165 members, are gleaned from thousands of auditions received from high school student musicians residing in six states, Australia and Canada.  The students will attend clinics and concerts with world-class composers and conductors from November 20th through November 23rd, 2009 in Seattle, Washington.  Two concerts will be held at the conclusion of the conference; the first featuring the Phoenix and Sunbird Honor Bands and the second featuring the Firebird and Thunderbird Honor Bands.  Each pair of bands will combine to perform a grand finale of “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”