Vero Beach and Indian River County value fine art and art music as well as any small community in the country, and we are honored to be a small part of it. Beginning in 2001 with six students in one ensemble, the Vero Beach High School Orchestra now has several performing groups for students to practice their craft. The Philharmonic is the most advanced large string ensemble, with sixty players. These students also make up the majority of the string section of the Symphony orchestra, which combines forces with members of the VBHS band to create a full orchestra. Sinfonia is a small, auditioned chamber orchestra which rehearses after school and performs regularly in the community. The Concert and Freshmen orchestras act as intermediate-level training orchestras. Additionally, the Fiddlin’ Indians learn a wide variety of folk and fiddle music after school, which they perform in the community.
The orchestras have consistently been rated ‘Superior’ by the Florida Orchestra Association at both district and state assessments. Students in the VBHS orchestras have performed masterpieces from the orchestral repertoire, from Baroque concerto grossi and Classical string serenades, to Romantic symphonies. In 2011, the VBHS Symphony Orchestra was named the first place full orchestra at the National Orchestra Festival. In March of 2014, the Vero Beach High School Philharmonic Orchestra performed in the Kennedy Center, in Washington, DC. In May and June of 2017, the VBHS Philharmonic Orchestra performed in Innsbruck, Salzburg, Graz and Vienna, Austria. Dozens of young musicians from these programs have been named to the All-State orchestra, and many have continued their studies in colleges and conservatories.
Matt Stott has directed the orchestras at Vero Beach High School since 2001, where he has seen the program grow from six student musicians to more than one hundred fifty orchestral musicians. He also instructs over one hundred string players at Gifford Middle School each day. Matt formerly taught orchestra at Oslo Middle School where he was named “teacher of the year” in 2006. A native of Illinois, Matt earned his Bachelors of Music Education from Baylor University. In 2010, Baylor named Matt “Alumni Music Educator of the Year.” In 2011, the Cultural Council of Indian River County presented Matt with its “Laurel Award” for cultural leadership. In the summer of 2012, he was a fellow at the Juilliard School, where he studied conducting. In 2014, FLASTA named Matt “Florida School Orchestra Teacher of the Year.” A violinist, Matt was taught by Patti Austin, Susan Starrett, and Dr. Bruce Berg, and he maintains an active performance schedule. An avid athlete, Matt spent several years as the Freshmen and then Junior Varsity basketball coach at Vero Beach High School. Matt and his wife, Katie, are proud parents of four young children.