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About Us

Our mission is to provide musical training through an orchestral setting in which the student has an opportunity to join with others and play as a group.  We also hope to increase interest in different genres of music and give students opportunities to develop their musicianship.

Established in August of 2015, the Southeast Indiana Youth Orchestra (SEIYO) launched with the humble beginning of 8 students, and a lot of ambition.  SEIYO provided string playing students with a place to develop their skills with group play that have had opportunities to play for several local events and activities. 

SEIYO offers affordable music education, along with inexpensive instrument rentals. One of SEIYO’s primary goals is to provide string education to students who do not otherwise have easy access. In this, SEIYO is the first of its kind in the area!

Our Conductor

crystal bio.jpg
Crystal Kessen Powers 

Crystal has a B.A. in Violin Performance and Music Education for K-12 education from God’s Bible School and College, and is a certified Suzuki teacher.  She has participated in music competitions as a student and as a judge. She is a string instructor for the Garen Wolf School of Music Fine Arts Camp and has been guest performer and teacher for different schools. In addition to her position with SEIYO, she is the Music Teacher at St. John's Lutheran School in Aurora, teaches private music lessons in her studio, Crystal's Things with Strings, and is the Music Minister at Wilmington Hills Wesleyan Church.

Emma Martin

Emma is from West Harrison, IN and was a former student of SEIYO during high school. She's been playing the violin for 8 years and has taken college-level music theory. She worked as a private violin teacher at the Harrison Music Shoppe for a year and now teaches private lessons at her home.


Our Orchestras

All Orchestras rehears on Saturday Mornings.  Currently rehearsals take place at the 

Wilmington Wesleyan Church, in Aurora, IN.

Prelude Strings  9:00 am
This group is for students who have had little or no experience with their instrument. They will learn the same way you would in a private lesson, only in a group setting.  While starting something new in a group setting can be a bit intimidating, students often learn better from and with other students. For students who are taking private lessons, this triples their weekly instruction time and often speeds up their learning progress.

Students who sign up for Prelude Strings should expect to participate for two semesters. Special exceptions can apply. 

Sinfonietta  10:00 am

This group is where all our students above Prelude level play together. Some students will find this music hard, some will find it easier. Either way, everybody loves the sound of a large string group and the younger students learn from the older students and the older students get to work on their leadership skills.

Armonia  11:00 am

This group is for our more advanced strings. Here we challenge our students to do more than just pull the bow across the strings. Here we get to focus on more of the actual music making in bigger or more complex pieces. This group is also the most likely to get asked to do special performances.

Chamber Group 9:30 am (By audition only)
This group is for the most advanced students. Since a chamber group is smaller and there are only a select number of spots available, this group is formed by audition only and students will be selected by the conductor. While all students are welcome to audition, students in this group need to be self motivated and able to perform with the group without a conductor. This group will also take more time outside of rehearsal to properly prepare. If you are interested in joining the chamber group, please talk to our conductor to schedule an audition. 

Our Board 

Sara Barkdoll - President

Sara has a Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of Cincinnati and has held various volunteer administrative positions with several non-profit organizations, including Voices of Indiana, and SEIYO, both of which is is a co-founder.  She is a stay-at-home mom.

Don Townsend - Vice President

Don grew up in Moores Hill, Indiana, received a B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University, then worked at Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company in Chicago, IL. He is currently a Project Engineer at PAC Worldwide in Middletown, OH and has lived in Aurora  since 2004 with his family. He is an active volunteer at St. Mary’s Catholic Parish in Aurora where he has played various stringed instruments for Sunday masses, musicals, children’s Bible School, and other events since grade school. He plays violin in the orchestra and takes violin lessons from Crystal. Don is excited to be a board member and feels blessed to be a part of SEIYO.

Shannon Gillespie Venters - Secretary

 Shannon is a RN working in Milan. All 4 of her children are learning string instruments with three of them being members of SEIYO. She loves SEIYO and is excited to be a member of the board. 

Mark Zembrodt - Treasurer

Mark is from Erlanger, KY, and has lived in Indiana for the last 32 years.

He is a customer service agent for a major K12 Higher Ed textbook publisher.

He loves classical music and has been enrolled in violin lessons for the last 3 years, and is thrilled to be associated with the orchestra. 

Denise Rose - Board Member

Denise is a co-founder of SEIYO. She is the Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Aurora, as well as Program Coordinator for the Aurora Recreation Community Center in Aurora.  She is also the Head Volleyball Coach for South Dearborn High School and offers private violin and viola lessons.

LeAnna Rowe Mercieca - Board Member

LeAnna is the manager of New Horizons Rehabilitation facility in Brookville. As well as owner of An Orchestrated Journey and leader of An Orchestrated Journey 4-H club that focuses on music for all abilities. She has held various volunteer positions with other non profit organizations including March of Dimes, FUSE (Families United for Support and Encouragement), Special Olympics, and Indiana Agriculture and Technology School.

SEIYO Board, 2023

Not pictured: Benjamin Barkdoll and Denise Rose.

Check out this video from a recent interview with The 812!

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