In 1989, the formation of the Bloomington Normal Youth Symphony was made possible by the desire, knowledge, and skill of Dr. Howard H. Rye, as well as a considerable donation from the Amateur Musical Club, which phased out of existence at that time. The Amateur Musical Club had an impressive 100-year history of procuring world-class musicians to perform in Bloomington-Normal solo recitals and with the then Bloomington Normal Symphony. The legacy of that tradition of community enhancement through musical performance continues on today in the spirit and mission of the Bloomington Normal Youth Symphony.
The first youth symphony grew out of many ensembles that Dr. Rye coached in his home, beginning with string groups and gradually adding wind players. The need for a full orchestra became evident, and BNYS was formed, performing its first concert in November of 1989. Sponsored solely by the Amateur Musical Club, the first five BNYS concerts were organized by Dr. Rye, with input from several key members of that club. He conducted the BNYS until 1994 when Deanne Bryant became the conductor. Mrs. Bryant continued to develop the youth symphony, adding a Board of Directors in 1994.
The BNYS draws musicians from Bloomington-Normal and the surrounding area schools, and maintains approximately 60 members. It relies on volunteer help from parents. It is the hope of the Board of Directors that the Symphony will remain an outstanding orchestra in the community, challenging its members to increase their knowledge and skills in music while striving for excellence.