Charlotte Youth Wind Ensembles

The Charlotte Youth Wind Ensembles (CYWE), now preparing for its twenty-eighth season, has established itself as one of the Carolinas’ premier student musical organizations.  Past repertoire has included some of the most famous and respected titles in band literature as well as new literature. 

CYWE includes two bands, the Charlotte Youth Wind Orchestra, conducted by Shawn Smith, and the Charlotte Youth Symphonic Band, conducted by Shayna Stahl.

Following a series of eight rehearsals, the bands will present a number of regional concerts. In the past, CYWE has been featured on local television in Charlotte. 

Students from an 80-mile radius of Charlotte have been members of the Charlotte Youth Wind Ensembles, which are sponsored by the Department of Music of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  Members of CYWE have been accepted into many of the finest music schools in the United States.


The mission of CYWE is to provide the ultimate concert band experience for highly-talented high school students as a musical enrichment program.  Very high standards for performance and attendance are expected of all CYWE musicians.  Our aim is to present the highest caliber band music in a university-level rehearsal and performance atmosphere.


CYWE auditions are open to all North and South Carolina band students in grades 9-12. All CYWE musicians must be enrolled in their school band or orchestra program. Home-schooled musicians are also eligible.


Auditions will be held at Robinson Hall for the Performing Arts, UNC Charlotte on Sunday, December 8, 2019, beginning at 1:00pm.  All auditions must be in person, and no alternative audition dates are possible. 

The Audition Score Sheet is broken down into three scored categories, totaling 100 points:
SOLO (80), SCALES (10) and SIGHT READING (10).

SOLO: Each student should prepare the All-State Solo for his/her instrument. Students in grades 9-10 can choose to play either the 9-10 or the 11-12 solo for either state, however to be eligible for placement in the Wind Orchestra, students MUST perform the 11-12 solo. Students should use their district cuts for the solo.  

The solo, worth 80 points, is broken down into seven categories scored as follows:

TONE; 20 pts
RHYTHM; 10 pts
DYNAMICS; 10 pts

Percussion uses a different scoring rubric, but the total score is still based on 100 points.

SCALES (10 points): Scale requirements are the same for all students regardless of grade level and are as follows:

Chromatic -- A full range chromatic scale, within the practical range of instrument.
Major Scales -- Students should be prepared to play major scales up to four sharps or flats, although the judge will ask for only two (one flat key and one sharp key) due to time restrictions.
Percussion should be prepared to play basic rudiments and required scales for mallet instruments.

SIGHT READING - (10 points) A brief sight reading example will be selected by the judge and the student will have one minute to study the music before being asked to play.


Wind Orchestra rehearsals will be held on Tuesday evenings from 7:00 – 9:15 p.m. and Symphonic Band rehearsals will be held on Wednesday evenings from 7:00-9:15pm. All rehearsals are held at UNC Charlotte’s Robinson Hall for the Performing Arts.  This site is easily accessible for students traveling from any part of the region. Wind Orchestra rehearsals will begin on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 and will continue through Tuesday, February 11, 2020.  Symphonic Band rehearsals will begin on January 8, 2020 and continue through February 12, 2020. Students accepted into CYWE will receive music well in advance of the first rehearsal and, similar to an All-State band or orchestra experience, will be expected to come to the first rehearsal with the music technically prepared.  CYWE will hold two concerts:

Monday, Feb. 17th, 7:00pm  Mooresville High School

Tuseday, Feb. 18th, 7:30pm  UNC Charlotte

CYWE Soloist Competition

Any student selected for membership in the Wind Orchestra is also eligible to compete in the CYWE Soloist Competition to be held before rehearsal on January 14, 2020.  The winner of the competition will have the honor of performing as a featured soloist in this season’s CYWE concerts. Students selected for the Symphonic Band are not eligible for the soloist competition. Solos must be less than ten minutes and have a band accompaniment that is readily available.  Past CYWE Soloist Competition winners are not eligible. Soloists should consult with their band director or private instructor to select an appropriate solo.  All solo selections must be approved by Dr. Smith prior to the competition

CYWE Application/Fees

CYWE online registration and payment is also available at the link below. A $10 registration fee (payable online) is due at the time of registration.

Upon receipt of notification that a student is accepted as a member of CYWE, s/he will receive a rehearsal schedule and a contract for membership, which must be signed by the student and parent and returned to CYWE at the first rehearsal. The tuition for CYWE membership is $120 for the season, payable online. 

Online registration and payment option is available at:

CYWE Online Registration/Payment

Concert Dates

Monday, Feb. 17th, 7:00pm  Mooresville High School

Tuseday, Feb. 18th, 7:30pm  UNC Charlotte

For further information, please contact the UNC Charlotte Director of Bands, Shawn Smith, at (704) 687‑7894 or email at

CYWE Brochure

2020 CYWE Personnel