Sign In

Why Choose Us

  • A

    We are one of the most affordable music organizations in the greater Washington, D.C. area with opportunites for students to be in multiple ensembles for one low price. Discounts are available for siblings. 

  • B

    We focus on the family as a whole. We maintain a family friendly environment that is based on mutual respect of both staff and students. 

  • C

     BalanceD APPRoACH ​
    We provide a holistic and wholesome approach to preparing young leaders of tomorrow through music. 


  • Since the inception of ASCYO, I have had the privilege of sending many of my private students to audition and be accepted into the various orchestras.  It has been a wonderful experience for them.  ASCYO is a nurturing environment for a budding beginner yet has provided a platform for the advanced player to shine in solo performance.

    Lynn Fleming
  • As a homeschool family, my sons did not have the opportunity to play in a school orchestra or band. When we lived in Calvert County, they were able to participate in a homeschool band program, but we found no such organization in Montgomery County at the time. A friend told us about ASCYO and at firstmy sons, 17 and 14 at the time, were not crazy about the idea of auditioning because they had never done that before.  They had enjoyed playing with a group, so they went and found the experience pleasant rather than intimidating. They were both welcomed into the youth orchestra and my younger sons then followed suit, one starting out in the chamber orchestra and the other began with the petting zoo for the beginning band. Now 7 years later, all 4 of them have enjoyed both the wonderful music andthe fellowship of playing with ASCYO in both the orchestra and bands. My youngest is looking forward to two more years in ASCYO.

    Cathie Boulden
  • One of the unique elements of ASCYO that I appreciate the most is the opportunity for seniors to perform a solo with the orchestra. After playing the violin for 9 years and spending 8 of those years in all three of the ASCYO orchestra's I loved being able to share the skill and gift that I had been working on for years with the help of the orchestra that I had been a part of for so long. ASCYO is such a supporting and loving environment and Walt Edmonds is not just a conductor but a mentor and friend to most of the orchestra members.

    ​​Alaya Hardy
  • Our family has been a part of ASCYO for eight years with our daughter starting in the prep orchestra at ten yrs. old, moving through chamber and then to the youth orchestra where she started in one of the last seats in violin and last year, her senior year, she was the concert master! My son has been in the concert band playing the saxophone and then to the chamber and last year in the youth orchestra for clarinet. ASCYO is like family that you look forward to seeing at the beginning of each school year. We appreciate ASCYO's love of children and music and how music played well glorifies God. We love the choice of music and my children especially appreciate music that brings a challenge. We are very grateful for ASCYO.

    Kristy Hardy
  • ASCYO offers a friendly yet stimulating orchestral environment providing a delicate balance between high musical standards and a rehearsal and performance schedule that students can manage easily along with their academics and other commitments. 

    Our son auditioned on trumpet for ASCYO and was placed in the Chamber Orchestra when he was in seventh grade.  He has steadily progressed in his musicianship in part due to ASCYO. He is now entering his senior year of high school and is a member the ASCYO Youth Orchestra, where he is principal trumpet.  The schools he has attended have jazz and band ensembles, but do not had have an orchestra program.  ASCYO offers the perfect opportunity for young musicians, like our son, to play challenging music, increase their musical skills, develop discipline, take direction, make new friends and to gainconfidence in performing. 

    ASCYO presents multiple concerts annually for the community in general as well as for the residents atsenior assisted living facilities.  This is a great experience for the young people to see that what they do with their music affects people and that giving back to the community is very important. The ability to earn community service hours is an added bonus. 

    Overall, ASCYO is a wonderful community of musicians, teachers and parents and we continue to reap many rewards through our participation.

    Steve and Jean Rinaldi
  • I have played the bassoon for over 10 years now and participated in numerous orchestras, ensembles, and bands, but I can honestly say that ASCYO provided me the most enjoyable and best opportunities I've had as a musician. Playing in ASCYO was fun yet challenging. Everyone involved was extremely supportive and helped me to grow as a musician while encouraging me to have fun with my music. In particular, the unique opportunity to play a self-selected solo with the orchestra my senior year was one of the most exciting experiences I have ever had. I was so fortunate to join ASCYO, and I thank the orchestra and all involved for contributing so greatly to musical opportunities I received upon my high school graduation, including music scholarships and participation in college ensembles. More importantly, I look back at my time with ASCYO as an incredibly enjoyable four years of making music with amazing and talented people.

    Julia Todd

About ​​​​The Academy​​​​

​​the Academy of Saint Cecilia Youth Orchestra (ASCYO) is a non-profit organization created in 2001 as an outreach ministry of Damascus United Methodist Church to youth and their families in the greater Washington, D.C. area.  ASCYO is now an independent 501(c)3 organization.

​The mission of ASCYO is to serve the community by providing opportunity for young musicians to grow spiritually and attain musical excellence through instruction, rehearsal and public performances of the great musical compositions of the past and present. The ASCYO hopes to encourage young people to make commitments to their faith and religious vocations in music and the arts by fostering an environment that reflects the Judaic and Christian traditions where prayer, music, theology, and caring fellowship are respected, revered, and practiced. Members are expected to respect faith traditions different from their own.  The services provided to young people in music are given without regard to sex, race, religion, or national origin.​

Read more

ASCYO Ensembles​

​​Five ensembles are under the umbrella of ASCYO: The Prep Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, and Youth Orchestra; The Symphonic band, and Beginning Band Program. A brief description of each is listed below.​



A full symphonic orchestra for advanced students performing major symphony literature. Music Grade 5-6+. ​

Rev. Walter G. Edmonds, conductor


​Chamber orchestra

​A full orchestra for intermediate level students. Music Grade 3-4.

Mr. charles doherty, conductor

PREP Orchestra​

​A string orchestra for beginning musicians. Music Grade 1-2.



​A band for those students who have played the Beginning Band or for students who have had at least 2-3 years of Band experience.

Mr. Charles Doherty, director


​A program for those students who have not played an instrument before, or students from other programs who are not yet at the Symphonic Band level. We will offer instruction on flute, clarinet, trumpet, french horn, trombone and percussion.

Instrumental Teachers:
Mr. Ronold Vazquez ​​​ – Woodwind
Mr. Charles Doherty – Brass
Mr. Scott Slaughter​​ – Percussion​

Our Staff​