Room To Grow

Now more than ever, kids need room to grow

Their world is rapidly changing, which can be scary. 

We nurture their spirits while preparing them for the future. Make room for your kid to be a kid. Inspiring teachers are providing safe spaces for the joy of learning music. And your child will be learning important life skills – practice makes perfect, teamwork makes the dream work, and together we can make a difference.

Music in the Schools Activities are Currently Suspended Due to COVID-19 Precautions.

Carnegie Linkup

Carnegie Link Up is a music education curriculum designed for students in grades 3-5. Following a set repertoire, children sing and play recorders and other instruments in their classrooms, culminating in a full-scale concert where kids from all participating schools gather together to perform with a professional orchestra. It’s a powerful event. Schools provide $10 per student plus transportation to the final concert. MIM provides free training via workshops and recorder lessons for classroom teachers.

Music in The Schools is supported by a generous grant from The Community Players Trust.

The Details

  1. Offered October – May
  2. School Sign-Up in September
  3. For 3rd – 5th Grade Students
  4. Time Commitment Varies from Daily to Weekly
  5. Cost is $10.00 Per Student and Teacher; $3.00 Recorder Fee (schools may choose to use existing recorders or purchase a new one). Teacher and Student Handbooks Included.
  6. Limit is 1,200 Students Each Year (first come, first served)

MIM’s Education for Nevada County Schools 2017/2018 includes four programs: Take 5 For Music, Carnegie Linkup, Full Circle Music Program, and Peer Performing 4 Peers. Music in The Schools is supported by a generous grant from The Community Players Trust.

For More Information

Email Marge Shasberger, MIM Youth Orchestra

Wayland Whitney | Conductor

Wayland Whitney is a conductor and violist from northern California. He is passionate about education, and has taught publicly and privately since 2008. In 2009, he co-founded the Placer County Youth Orchestra (PCYO) in Roseville, CA, which he administered and conducted while pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Viola at UC Davis. From 2016-18, he directed the Music in the Mountains Youth Orchestra (MIMYO) in Nevada County, CA. In 2018, he was appointed assistant conductor for Symphony D’Oro, a community orchestra in Rancho Cordova, CA. He also conceived and arranged music for a series of school outreach concerts for the Auburn Civic Symphony in Auburn, CA. Later that year, Whitney moved to West NY to study conducting and free improvisation with Dr. David Rudge at SUNY Fredonia, finishing his Master’s degree in Conducting in spring of 2020. In 2021, Whitney became conductor of the Modesto Youth Symphony Orchestra in Modesto, CA and returned to Music in the Mountains as director of MIMYO and Assistant Conductor of the MIM Orchestra.

Shannon Devir | Assistant Conductor

Flutist and piccolo player Shannon Devir received her Bachelor of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She currently plays with the InConcert Sierra Orchestra, and has performed with the Victoria Symphony, Ballet Victoria, Opera Pacific, and the Classical Philharmonic. Ms. Devir has held teaching positions at the University of San Francisco, The San Francisco Waldorf School, and Nevada City School of the Arts. She has a passion for sharing the art of music and thrives on working with musicians to realize their full potential.

Marge Shasberger | Manager + Mentor

Marge has been involved with the MIMYO family for several years now, serving as the orchestra manager and also as a string mentor for the group. On staff at Music in the Mountains, her official title is Education Programs Manger. Marge has been a musician all of her life – starting on her own violin/viola when she was in the 3rd grade, and enjoys playing in many orchestras, string quartets, and ensembles at all levels. She also plays recorders with the American Recorder Society, directs the Handbell Choir at Peace Lutheran Church and plays with the Sierra College OLLI Orchestra. Marge has a Bachelors Degree in Music from Calif. State University, Northridge and a Masters Degree in Educational Technology from Calif. State University, Sacramento.

Youth Orchestra (MIMYO)

The Music in the Mountains Youth Orchestra (MIMYO) continues the tradition of offering the orchestral experience to players in grades 3-12, under the direction of professional conductors. String, woodwind, brass, and percussion players will work on classical repertoire during weekly rehearsals at the beautiful new Center for the Arts and give three public concerts… all in a friendly, nurturing environment. The application form, calendar and welcome letter from our director are available for download at the bottom of this page.

This year sees the return of one of our founding conductors – Music in the Mountains is so glad to have Wayland Whitney back with us now that he has finished his graduate studies. I know some of our returning musicians will remember working with Maestro Whitney before.

Rehearsals are Mondays, 4:30-6:00 PM at the Center for the Arts in downtown Grass Valley. This newly remodeled facility offers MIMYO a wonderful new home where we can both rehearse and perform, while making every effort to observe health safety protocols. Students will be asked to wear masks, observe social distancing, and be conscious of the need for safety at all times.

Prospective members at all levels are encouraged to join us. Music will be available for all participation levels for students to enjoy and learn. Rehearsals are Monday afternoons, starting August 30th – a complete calendar of dates and times is available for download at the bottom of this page. Our group consists of a symphony orchestra with all members playing together, plus sectional rehearsals under the direction of our conductor, Wayland Whitney, and assistant conductor, Shannon Devir. Students will learn the art of playing both in an ensemble and as a section, with repertoire customized for each participant’s level of playing.

The orchestra has three sessions during the school year, culminating in a concert at the end of each period. Each session is $125, and if you sign up for all three together there is a discount to $300. We do offer a family rate of $400 for multiple students from one family if all of the family participants enroll in all three sessions. Students are placed in the ensemble based on their abilities, experience, etc. according to the director’s assessment.

Currently, MIMYO is made up of musicians from Grass Valley, Nevada City, Penn Valley, Auburn, and other surrounding areas. The program is underwritten by Julia Amaral and Mark Strate, with support from other donors.

The MIM Youth Orchestra (MIMYO) is an after-school symphony orchestra program for string, woodwind, brass, and percussion players ages 8-21. Our musicians work on classical repertoire in weekly rehearsals and give three public concerts, all in a friendly, nurturing environment.

Young Composers Project Activities are Currently Suspended Due to COVID-19 Precautions.

Thank you to our Funders:

This education program is funded in part by the League of American Orchestras and The Volgenau Foundation.

Young Composers Project

The Young Composers Project (YCP) is an innovative program that serves to instill a passion for all music in the region’s youth. Students study composition, notation software, conducting, melodic and rhythmic dictation, theory, music history, solfege, rehearsal/performance, writing a resume, and public speaking.

COVID-19 interrupted things in 2020. When we resume, the plans are for students to participate in the exciting Full Circle Music Program, which has been funded in part by a grant from the California Arts Council. November through January, students will work with acclaimed Hollywood violinist and composer Richard Altenbach to orchestrate an original piece for the Music in the Mountains Youth Orchestra (MIMYO).

In the spring, MIMYO will play the compositions for schools throughout Nevada County, and at one public concert.

Each year’s program culminates with the compositions being premiered by professional instrumentalists as part of our SummerFest.

To Sign Up or For More Information:

Marge Shasberger, MIM Education Administrator
[email protected]
(530) 265-6173

Thank you to our Funders:

This education program is funded in part by the League of American Orchestras and The Volgenau Foundation.

The Young Composers Project (YCP) is an established cornerstone of MIM’s education program. The innovative curriculum serves to instill passion for all music in the region’s youth.

Registration Forms

Download and Email to Marge Shasberger.

Young Musicians Competition
and Concerts 2023

In 2023, Music in the Mountains and area Rotary clubs are again collaborating to conduct their two competitions jointly as the Rotary/Music in the Mountains Young Musicians Competition (YMC)!

The Competition takes place via submitted video performances which are professionally judged for cash prizes. Finalists will appear in a Showcase Concert on February 26, 2023, at 2 pm, at St Joseph’s Cultural Center in Grass Valley. One competitor will also go on to the Rotary District 5190 Conference competition April 29, 2023, at Harrah’s in Stateline, Nevada.

Although the two competitions will be conducted jointly, there are separate qualifications and awards for the Music in the Mountains competitors and the Rotary competitors – information is below.

All contestants must download the registration form below and return it as instructed on the form.

Registration fees can be paid by check by mail, or online via either credit card or bank transfer.


The Music in the Mountains Young Musicians Competition was first held in 1987. It provides the opportunity for Nevada, Placer, Sutter, Butte, Sierra, and Yuba County music students, grades 3-12, to study, memorize and perform classical, broadway, jazz or other repertoire for professional judges. There are multiple awards for different grade levels and all participating students receive detailed written critiques from the adjudicators.

The Rotary Clubs of Western Nevada County’s District Preliminary Music Contest has been held since 2003. It is open to students grades 9-12 that live and attend school in Nevada County (excluding the Truckee area). The winning student video from those wishing to compete in the Rotary Contest as well will be submitted for consideration in the Rotary Virtual District Competition. The winner will be announced in early May.

The Young Musicians Competition (YMC) was first held in 1987. It provides the opportunity for Nevada, Placer, Sutter, Butte and Yuba County music students, grades 3-12, to study, memorize and perform classical repertoire for professional judges.

Youth Choir Activities are Currently Suspended Due to COVID-19 Precautions.

Youth Choir (MIMYC)

The Music in the Mountains Youth Chorus (MIMYC – pronounced “mimic”) is a community chorus for students in grades 8 through 12. This chorus learns fun and challenging music, vocal technique, rhythm, tone, and more. The chamber chorus sings both a capella and accompanied by a professional orchestra. Members have the option to stay after their rehearsal and sing with the MIM Chorus on full-length choral masterpieces. Rehearsals are Monday nights from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm (until 9:00 pm if staying).

Please email [email protected] for an audition.

This brand new group works on their own music and concerts, as well as joining the adult Music in the Mountains Chorus for rehearsals and concerts.

Side By Side

Side by Side offers high caliber student musicians the extraordinary opportunity to sit in with the orchestra at rehearsals and perform with their mentors in live performances. This program is free for the students.

Questions or interested in learning more about Side By Side?
Email Music in the Mountains.

Side By Side offers high caliber student musicians the extraordinary opportunity to sit in with the orchestra at rehearsals and perform with their mentors in live performances.

Lucy Becker
Memorial Scholarship

The Lucy Becker Memorial Scholarship honored the memory of a wonderful soprano (pictured left) who contributed her vocal talents to our community through solo and choral performances over many years. This talent-based scholarship was awarded for 11 years. It encouraged dedicated vocal students to continue their studies by providing a cash award and a featured performance on an MIM concert.

Past Becker Scholarship Winners

2023 – Crisia Regalado
2022 – Nicole Young
2019 – Katie Thorpe
2018 – Justin Ramm-Damron
2017 – Alison Willmann
2016 – Monica Serrano
2015 – Elise Savoy
2014 – Walter Aldrich
2013 – Sarah Saturnino
2012 – Meagan Rao
2011 – Kali Hardwick

The Paul Perry Award

The Paul Perry Award goes to the “most outstanding performance” during the Young Musicians Showcase Concert. This concert is the conclusion to the Young Musicians Competition, which also awards many other cash prizes to winners.

Keranen Education
Youth Scholarship

Keranen Education Youth Scholarship, KEYS, offers financial support to help young musicians pay for lessons, instrument rentals, tuition and more. Contact Marge Shasberger, Education Administrator, for the application process.

Making a Difference Scholarship

The Making a Difference Scholarship awards $1,000 annually to a graduating H.S. senior. This Scholarship is awarded in conjunction with Penn Valley Rotary Club and facilitated through the Nevada Joint Union High School District.

Your donation can provide scholarships and teach our kids all about music.

It is only through your generosity that these valuable opportunities for young people continue.

MIM offers valuable award and scholarship opportunities for young people. These include the Lucy Becker Memorial Vocal Scholarship, Paul Perry Award, Keranen Education Youth Scholarship, and Making a Difference Scholarship.

Thank you so much for wanting to keep the great music alive.

Unfortunately, we are currently having a software issue that prevents us from accepting either credit card or EFT donations.

We hope to have this solved shortly, and thank you for your understanding.

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