The mission of the Williamsport Symphony Junior Strings (WSJS) is to offer an education in orchestral ensemble playing to young string players (ages 9 through 14) in the greater Williamsport area. Directed by Nelson Rodriguez-Parada, the WSJS meets on Sunday afternoons for 8 weeks a semester, each culminating with a concert performance at the Community Arts Center in Williamsport. Students will rehearse and perform a wide variety of music while engaging with professional musicians throughout the season.
Tuition for the entire season is $75 with scholarship aid available upon request. To register, apply online and have your student’s private or school music teacher fill out and return via email the Teacher Recommendation Form to Mr. Rodriguez prior to the start of the season.
2023-2024 Schedule and Program
Fall 2023 Music
WSJS is open to string students (ages 9-14) who are preparing to be in the Williamsport Symphony Youth Orchestra (WSYO). Students are expected to participate in their school’s orchestra program if it has one and private lessons are encouraged. A minimum playing experience of at least one year is strongly recommended to participate. WSJS repertoire will vary in difficulty (level 2-3 out of 6) ensuring that every student has a challenging and enjoyable experience playing with the orchestra.
No auditions are required to join the WSJS. Instead, the WSJS asks for the student’s private or school music teacher to submit a recommendation form prior to the first rehearsal to ensure participation is appropriate for the student’s current playing experience level.
WSJS Music Director
Nelson Rodriguez-Parada currently serves as the Orchestra and Modern Band Director at the Shamokin Area School District in Coal Township, Pennsylvania. His mission as a music educator is to use music as a social and developmental outlet for everyone involved while giving students learning experiences to use throughout the rest of their lives whether or not they decide to pursue music professionally.
Rodriguez-Parada began his career in Riverview, Florida at Spoto High School as the Orchestra, Chorus and Modern Band Director. An avid supporter of community music performance, he founded and conducted the Tampa Music Society Orchestra. He also played with several jazz bands, wind ensembles and orchestras throughout central Florida, including Walt Disney World’s Encore Symphony Orchestra.
Before moving to central Pennsylvania, Rodriguez-Parada worked for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra as their General Manager of Training Programs, responsible for managing the Civic Youth Ensembles and the Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra, serving over 1,000 students in orchestras, wind ensembles, choirs and jazz ensembles annually. He also founded and conducted in the Detroit Symphony’s Community Ensembles program, an orchestra and wind ensemble dedicated to giving adults lifelong music playing opportunities, regardless of prior experience.
Rodriguez-Parada is originally from Tampa, Florida and holds degrees in music education from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee and The Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford in West Hartford, Connecticut. In addition to his role at Shamokin, Rodriguez-Parada conducts the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra’s Junior Strings, teaches double bass and guitar at Susquehanna and Bucknell Universities, and plays regularly throughout the region for musicals and other concerts. He currently lives in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania with his wife Adrienne, daughters Lucy and Eliza, and dog Phoebe (who is a very good dog).
WSO Junior Strings Application