About Us

Join Our Team: Now Hiring Philharmonia Conductor

Our goals…..

  • To strive for musical excellence through the performance and in-depth study of repertoire of the highest educational and artistic quality
  • To give young musicians the opportunity to reach their maximum potential
  • To offer a fun, memorable and inspirational musical experience
  • To provide a opportunity for all aspiring young musicians, regardless of gender, race, physical ability or economic status.
  • To encourage students to develop self-esteem, leadership, responsibility, commitment, cooperation and discipline
  • To support our community through free public concerts presenting the timeless beauty of classical music


North Sound Youth Symphony is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. Our board of directors consist of parents of current NSYS students, alumni of NSYS, and community members.

While our rehearsals and concerts take place at Western Washington University’s Performing Arts Center, we are a wholly independent organization.

Tuition accounts for approximately 70% of our operating budget. The remainder comes from donations from concert attendees, sponsors and businesses.


Grant Donnellan, Symphony Director

Professor of violin and string pedagogy at Western Washington University and concertmaster of the Whatcom Symphony. Grant holds a Master of Music degree and Performance Certificate from the Yale School of Music. He has performed in European tours and on recordings as a member of the American Sinfonietta. As a conductor, he has directed the Whatcom Symphony, the WWU Symphony and Chamber Orchestra, the Ferndale Summer Pops Orchestra and numerous State Honor Orchestras. Grant is also Director of Western’s Chamber Days summer chamber music camp.

Mary Marshall, Philharmonia Director

Mary Marshall is an active teacher, adjudicator and performer and has been director of Squalicum High School Orchestras since 2018. She also teaches Guitar, Unified Music, and 5 th Grade Strings in the Bellingham School District. She graduated from Western Washingon University with a BA in Music Education studying with Walter Schwede and Margaret Brink. Previously, she has directed orchestra and music programs in the Port Angeles School District, Ferndale School District and Lynden School District. She has played with the Port Angeles Symphony, the Wenatchee Valley Symphony, Everett Community Symphony and WWU Symphony & Chamber Orchestras. While in college she performed with the “Collegium Musicum” Baroque ensemble and various chamber ensembles.

Photography Credits

Photographs in the NSYS website are taken by Thai Blair and other volunteers.