JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A fresh face now leading Jacksonville’s Youth Symphony Orchestra is settling into her new role.

We met Deanna Tham near the stage of the Times-Union Center where soon she will be conducting a group of young musicians. Still a few weeks away from rehearsals, the auditorium is quiet and seats empty, but the excitement is palpable.

“Everywhere I go, the environment is different and the place is different and the people are different, we’re all united by the same thing,” Jacksonville Youth Symphony Orchestra conductor Deanna Tham said.

She might be new to Jacksonville, but no stranger to the job. However, this is a career she almost didn’t pursue.

“I always thought I was going to be a doctor, I thought that’s what I was supposed to do – no one ever told me that, I just thought that,” Tham said.

She joined the band in high school and the rest Is music history. In a field where men outnumber women, Tham is considered role model for young ladies in the orchestra. Not feeling pressured, she said she accepts the responsibility.


“If I happen to inspire other young women that’s wonderful and of course I want to help them if they want to do big things, but the first thing I want to tell them is it’s your talent and your dedication,” Tham said.

Talent she has only seen on tape to this point. Tham is still waiting to meet her group of musicians, which will happen in late August, but her excitement is building.

“[To] lead a group through, who this is the first time they’re playing it, maybe this is the first time.” Tham said.

Learn more about the Jacksonville Youth Symphony Orchestra and to see upcoming performances by clicking here.