The HHSO is passionately dedicated to supporting music education for the youth of the Lowcountry.  We have fostered partnerships with several community organizations and schools to offer numerous programs!


Partnership with Local Elementary Schools – Music Bridges

Music Bridges, HHSO’s spirited music-in-the-schools educational program, under the leadership of Maestro John Morris Russell, now reaches thousands of Beaufort County’s elementary students. Following a series of classroom visits by our HHSO musicians throughout the season, Music Bridges culminates its year of music-making with students traveling to HHI’s First Presbyterian Church to participate in a Young Person’s Concert under the direction of Maestro Russell.

Throughout the school year, HHSO musicians and guest artists visit 2nd through 5th grade classrooms to help prepare and excite students for their trip to hear the full orchestra at our annual Young People’s Concerts. This season’s participating classrooms will be from Hilton Head Island’s Creative Arts and International Baccalaureate, Bluffton’s Red Cedar, and Okatie Elementary Schools. During their visits, HHSO musicians complement the BCSD music teachers’ daily curriculum by extending the opportunity for students to continue to learn about different instruments, interact with professional orchestral players, and become engaged in the music making process. Music Bridges inspires harmonious excitement in 3,000+ students in the Beaufort County School District through personal musical connections.

Music Bridges – After School Programs

Foxes Jam, initiated in 2016 at Bluffton’s Red Cedar Elementary in conjunction with principal, Kathy Corley, and music teacher, Nathan Kooi, offers both beginning and intermediate strings and band classes to students in 3rd-5th grades. Participating students are given the opportunity to learn the Violin, Flute, Clarinet, Trumpet, or Trombone through weekly instruction.

Beginning in September 2019, Red Cedar’s model program will be expanded to Hilton Head Island’s Elementary Schools. In collaboration with principals Sarah Owen and Gretchen Keefner, as well as the Boys & Girls Club of the Lowcountry, HHSO violinist David Katz will instruct an after-school beginning violin class twice a week for select 4th and 5th graders.

All students participating in our after-school programs have access to instruments purchased and maintained by the Mary Briggs Youth Foundation.

HHSO Youth Concerto Competition    

Since 2007, the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra has sponsored a Youth Concerto Competition for the Southeastern Region of the United States. The competition provides talented young musicians with the opportunity to perform standard orchestral repertoire from memory before an audience. The winners perform recitals and become soloists with the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra.

Hilton Head Chamber Music Institute

Founded in 2018, the Hilton Head Chamber Music Institute provides an intensive training program focused on the art of chamber music performance for students who play the violin, viola or cello, and have completed grades 8 through 12. The highly individualized program encompasses coaching, masterclasses, one-on-one instruction, special workshops, and multiple performance experiences at SoundWaves.

HHIPC School Ambassador Program

Introduced at the 2003 competition, participating HHIPC competitors have the opportunity to perform selections from their competition repertoire, as well as other favorite works to students of Hilton Head Island schools. The students learn about the competitor’s musical study and life in their home countries. Additionally, middle and high school students are given the opportunity to attend early rounds of the competition to experience the highest levels of live music performance. During the BravoPiano! Festival, artists visit area schools to inspire and educate students by sharing their piano mastery.

Summer Programing at SoundWaves

Under the expert guidance of international children’s chorus master Guillermo Brazon, this past summer’s inaugural Music Factory for Kids encouraged participants ages 5-12 to explore their own creativity while discovering the empowerment of musical expression. The camp was offered four days a week at SoundWaves and helped to continue our long-standing partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of the Lowcountry which provided access to the program for numerous students.