WARWICK-The Skylands Youth Symphony, a haven for musicians in and around Sussex County since 1997, performed its annual Winter Concert last Sunday at the Warwick Reformed Church. "Our winter concert featured performances by the Skylands Youth Symphony and the Chamber Ensemble conducted by Kelly Gould, who has a master's degree in music education from the Central Connecticut State University," said Mary Ellen Massey, board president. The Skylands Youth Symphony has 28 members between the ages of 9-18 years. "The children must audition and be able to read music and have studied their instrument for at least two years," said Massey. The Youth Symphony is dedicated to providing a forum for young musicians to learn and perform a classical string orchestra repertoire in a supportive and musically competent environment. Jonathan MacMillan a 15-year-old freshman at Vernon High School, has been playing violin and viola in the symphony for the past six years. "This is one of the few groups that I can actually play viola in and it has introduced me to symphonic playing, it has been a wonderful experience," he said. Peter Chianchiano, a 14-year-old freshman at Vernon in his first year playing violin with the symphony, said, "You learn so much more when you are with people who are serious about their music, it's a good environment to learn and express yourself." The group offers music theory classes, workshops, and symphony trips and scholarships. "For the past three years, we have been invited to play at the Springfest at the Sussex County Fair Grounds, which the kids really enjoy as it gives them an extra chance to perform in front of a large audience," said Massey. Funding for the Skylands Youth Orchestra has been made available in part by the Council of the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment of the Arts, through the State/County Partnership Block Grant Program, as administered by the Sussex County Arts and Heritage Council and supported by the Sussex County Board of Freeholders. The youth symphony will perform its second concert on May 15 in Saint Jude the Apostle Church in Hardyston. For information, call 875-2560.