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The Dr. Shirley Linzy Young Artists Orchestra of Las Vegas | Yunior Lopez, Founder

Along with our COVID-19 Safety Procedures outlined below, YAO is doing everything possible to provide our renowned services in a safe environment.

2020/21 Season Update

The YAO continues to plan for the resumption of in-person activity. Our ability to perform in the fall will be determined by public health conditions, guidance from state and local government, and the status of the local school district. Nevertheless, we are not optimistic about the possibility of hosting our large scale events, but we are excited about the projects we have lined up this fall.

The YAO will be able to offer after-school rehearsals in small capacity. Students will be able to engage with peers in a safe & social distanced environment. The last few weeks have made it clear that circumstances can change quickly during this pandemic. We will continue to keep ourselves informed, but do keep in mind that every decision we make will prioritize the health and safety of YAO students & their families.

With that said, this fall we are working towards a professional recording project we are calling REIMAGINED. The project is a professional recording initiative featuring new compositions & orchestrations of popular classical works. The project will be produced by award winning producer, Roberto Occhipinti, from Modica Music Records & YAO Music Director Yunior Lopez. The proejct will feature Maximilian Steinberg’s orchestration of the Busoni version of the J.S. Bach Chaconne, the Morphological Disintegration of Vivaldi’s Winter by Yunior Lopez featuring violinist Yuri Cho, Beethoven’s Fur Elise by world famous pianist Hilario Duran, Mozart’s Lacrimosa by Arturo Hernandez, and the famous Nessun Dorma orchestrated by Roberto Occhipinti. Alongside the recording project will be a documentary film by TRP Productions. Students can expect filming throughout their rehearsals. Additionally, specific students may be asked to participate in specific personal features for the film.


Because research is still underway on the safety of woodwind and brass performance, YAO will rehearse strings and percussion separately from woodwind and brass players in the fall of 2020. Full orchestra and large wind ensemble activities will not resume until more information is available on how to do so safely. However, woodwind and brass musicians will still be able to rehearse by utilizing the entire YAO rehearsal facility to social distance. Moreover, rehearsals have been reduced.


Students are required to wear masks when entering the YAO rehearsal space. Masks must wrap around ears and be on throughout the duration of rehearsal. Bandannas or cloth covers will not be allowed. YAO will also provide disposable surgical masks in case students forget to bring their own to rehearsal.

Wind & brass students can wear a face shield, and are advised to reconfigure their masks so that they stay on during rehearsal. Students may reposition masks below the chin when they are playing, but must keep mouth & nose covered during long period rests. Currently, there are several companies producing masks & bell covers for musicians (see below). We can take orders for students as they are currently only available to schools & non-profits. Each mask is $10.

*Woodwind & Brass players are encouraged to read and watch the videos listed under “COVID Orchestra Safety Studies.” 

MusicMask: https://dancesoph.com/pages/music-mask

United Sound Masks for Woodwinds/Brass: https://shop.pepwear.com/grey-united-sound-musician-mask/

Spit Valve Instruments

Instruments with spit valves such as Horns, Trombones, and Trumpets should use paper towels and practice proper etiquette when cleaning their valves. YAO will have paper towels available, and will also have disinfecting wipes to clean each station.

Room Cleaning

The YAO rehearsal space will be cleaned before and after each rehearsal time block. YAO has large amounts of hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, and cleaning supplies to keep the facility clean & safe. If parents want to provide students with additional supplies, then please do so. Feel free to send us an email if you have any questions or concerns.

Medical Conditions / Sickness

Students with medical conditions which are considered high risk due to COVID are asked not to attend rehearsals. In the same manner, students who feel sick are also asked to stay home. We will try to have a Zoom feed of the rehearsals to accommodate students who cannot attend in person. If you have any specific questions or concerns, then please send us an email at YAOrchestra@gmail.com

COVID Orchestra Safety Studies

Vienna Philharmonic Study

Woodwind & Brass Safety During COVID (VIDEO)

Trumpet Air Projection Vs Speaking (VIDEO)

Rehearsal Schedule Fall 2020

Percussion Ensemble
Director: Manny Gamazo
Wednesday’s (beginning September 9)
4:30 – 6:00 PM

Academy Orchestra
Director: Kerry Bennett
Thursday’s (beginning September 10)
4:00 – 5:30 PM: Violins
5:30 – 7:00 PM: Violas, Cellos, Bass

Symphony Orchestra
Director: Yunior Lopez
Friday’s (beginning September 11)
3:45 – 5:00 PM (VIOLINS)
5:00 – 6:15 PM (VIOLA, CELLO, BASS)
6:15 – 7:30 PM (WINDS/BRASS)

FALL 2020 FAQs

Where does YAO rehearse?

YAO rehearses at Maryland Square: 3661 S Maryland Pkwy, Las Vegas, NV 89169 (next to the Adelson Clinic)

Will rehearsals be available online? Can I attend online instead of in person?

Students who cannot attend in-person rehearsals may watch online. Please let us know if you cannot attend a specific day(s), so we can add you to list. Links will be sent out ahead of time. *Please note we will be testing our internet connection during the first week of rehearsals. We are anticipating an unstable connection during week 1.

I know you are currently planning on having in-person rehearsals. Could they be canceled?

When public health conditions allow, YAO will hold in-person rehearsals. Musicians will have the option to participate in person (if public health conditions allow) or online. If public health conditions do not allow in-person rehearsals, everyone will participate online. Our ability to rehearse and perform will be affected by public health conditions, guidance from state and local government, and the status of local universities and school districts. Circumstances can change quickly during this pandemic and YAO will be ready to adapt. In every decision we make, we will prioritize the health and safety of YAO musicians and families.

What COVID-19 safety measures are YAO implementing for rehearsals?

We will follow all available guidelines to keep our facility clean & students safe. We are also implementing the following measures:

  • If a musician shows any symptoms of any virus, please do not attend in-person YAO rehearsals. YAO will offer a live-stream version of rehearsals via Zoom every week for any musician who chooses to participate from home for a specific day or days.

  • Rehearsal times will be shortened so that no ensemble will rehearse for longer than 90 minutes.

  • Chairs will be separated by at least six feet, reducing the number of musicians rehearsing at a given location and time.

  • YAO staff, conductors, and musicians will wear proper face coverings, keep six feet of space between people, and wash their hands frequently.

  • YAO staff members will clean and disinfect rehearsal spaces between each rehearsal block.

  • Strings and percussion will rehearse separately from woodwind and brass players. Full orchestra and large wind ensemble activities will not resume until more information is available on how to do so safely.

  • Nonessential visitors, volunteers, participants, and staff will be limited as possible inside rehearsal spaces. Parents, family, and friends of YAO musicians are asked to remain outside the rehearsal spaces to limit foot traffic and maintain social distancing. Drop-off and pick-up times will be no-contact events. Due to the expected heavy traffic of these events, please do not linger longer than is necessary to pick-up or drop-off your musician(s).


Phone: 702-907-4486
*Texts & Calls

Yunior Lopez
YAO Executive & Music Director
Cell: 786-458-6984
Email: YAOrchestra@gmail.com

Melissa Rios
YAO Executive Assistant
*Maternity Leave September 21, 2020*

Cell: 702-907-4486
Email: Melissa.lvyao@gmail.com

Kerry Bennett
Academy Orchestra Conductor
Cell: 702-542-4961
Email: Kerrydeebennett@gmail.com

Manny Gamazo
Percussion Ensemble Director
Cell: 702-326-5850
Email: MannyGamazo@me.com