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50 Years of Alumni: Matthew Oyen

College(s)/University attended
Luther College B.A. and University of Saint Thomas M.A.

What years were you in GTCYS?
1989-1991, graduated from St. Paul Central 1991

What skills or lessons did you learn in GTCYS that you still use today?
I joined GTCYS halfway through my 10th grade year of high school. I can still recall hearing the Symphony for the 1st time from the balcony of O’Shaughnessy Auditorium. From that point on I was hooked and determined to be a part of such a powerful, thrilling, and inspiring sound. I had wonderful musical experiences with conductors Linville Doan, Jim Berg, and William Jones, and so many amazing peers. What do I still use today? GTCYS sparked a passion for music I’ve carried through life.

Why do you think GTCYS is important for students now?
I believe school music programs and community-based music programs like GTCYS provide students powerful performance opportunities to learn by doing and to learn by becoming better musicians.

How does music still play a part in your life?
I’ve been teaching band and orchestra at St. Paul Central High School for 25 years. I’ve also continued to play French Horn in a wind ensemble called the Grand Symphonic Winds.

What is your favorite composer or piece of music?
Tchaikovsky and Copland

What’s a fun fact about yourself?
When I was a kid and asked what I’d be doing in the year 2000…I thought I might be a band director.

What do you hope to see from GTCYS in the next 50 years?
Keep working on bringing these amazing opportunities and experiences to as many students as possible.

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