Dr. Christopher Fashun of the Hope College music faculty will soon be taking on an additional role as the newly hired music director of the Holland Area Youth Orchestra, the Holland Symphony Orchestra has announced.

The search committee led by Amanda Dykhouse is most excited about this new leadership and exciting ideas for the continued growth of the youth orchestra program.  Fashun, who will continue in his current capacity at Hope, will begin serving with the youth orchestra in September.

He follows Richard Piippo, who is retiring from the position of Holland Area Youth Orchestra Music Director after 20 years in this leadership. Piippo is the retired Director of Orchestras at Hope College, the position which Fashun now holds. Holland Area Youth Orchestra is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this spring and is most appreciative of the gifts Richard Piippo has brought to its growth, the constant challenge to perform at a high level and his passion for teaching, music, and students! Fashun joins the team with Kyle Nester who conducts both the Holland Area Junior Strings (beginning orchestra) and Holland Area Concert Strings (intermediate orchestra).

Christopher H. Fashun is an incredibly diverse and versatile conductor, performer, and educator. He brings over two decades of experience as a music educator leading middle school, high school and collegiate band and orchestra programs in addition to directing jazz and percussion ensembles. A 2018 recipient of a U.S. Postdoctoral Fulbright Award in All Disciplines, Dr. Fashun will be living and researching Afro-Brazilian music in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil during the summer of 2019. His project will focus on the dissemination of Afro-Brazilian music and culture in the city of Salvador.

An Assistant Professor of Music at Hope College, he serves as the Director of Orchestras, the founder and Music Director of the Brazilian Drumming Ensemble, teaches applied percussion, world music, and is an Instructor of Instrumental Music Education. An accomplished percussionist and violist, he has several years of orchestral and chamber music experience and has enjoyed success in both areas as a soloist by winning three concerto competitions, one on viola and two on marimba. When he’s not making music, he is either cycling, paddle boarding, or practicing Pilates and enjoying the fabulous beaches in Holland (in the summer, of course) with his wife and daughter.

Holland Area Youth Orchestra is the most advanced of the three orchestras in the youth orchestra system. This full orchestra consists of largely high school members, selected by audition each spring. Auditions will be held at selected local high schools this year as well as one at Midtown Center, Holland MI, on Saturday, April 20, for those unable to audition at the schools. Interested students may call the Symphony office at 616-796-6780 to schedule a short audition time.