2022-23 Musician Handbook: Other Programs & Collaborations

Summer Camps

GTCYS typically offers three summer orchestra camps for beginning to highly advanced students. The weeklong day camps provide an opportunity to keep playing in the summer, make new friends, and perform a free public concert. Program details will be announced online in spring 2023.

Launch Lessons

This initiative, new as of spring 2022, specifically supports Hispanic/Latinx and Black/African American students from Ramsey, Washington, and Dakota County who have financial need and a strong desire to pursue orchestral music. GTCYS matches students who are not already enrolled in GTCYS with a high-quality private instructor and pays for the full cost of weekly lessons. As part of the educational experience, students will be encouraged to participate in one of GTCYS’ 10 school-year orchestras (tuition assistance provided). Launch Lessons applications are available online. Other scholarships for private lessons are offered through GTCYS’ Sponsored Lessons program.


Harmony is a strings instruction program that breaks down barriers to music education, provides an accessible entry-point, and creates a musical pathway for students historically underrepresented in orchestra. Launched in 2016 as a small after-school program and led by director Mary Sorlie, Harmony has expanded to serve up to 75 2nd – 5th grade violinists and cellists at Riverview West Side School of Excellence (St. Paul), a K-5 dual-immersion Spanish-English school where 80% of students qualify for free/reduced lunch and 88% are students of color. Harmony addresses the community’s need for equitable music opportunities for youth by supplementing Riverview’s general music education curriculum. By learning an instrument in Harmony, students develop artistic and life skills, and become stronger learners and leaders in school and beyond.

With a suggested $20 annual participation fee, Harmony provides small and large group instruction three days a week, instruments, performance opportunities and enrichment activities. Harmony also addresses the need for greater access to music and the arts in St. Paul’s West Side neighborhood. Local Harmony concerts – including performances at Riverview, Humboldt High School, and senior care centers – build meaningful community connections, while Harmony’s performance at GTCYS’ Spring Festival brings together the broader community at Orchestra Hall.

As they progress, Harmony students and alumni advance into GTCYS’ school-year orchestras. We bridge the opportunity gap by providing need-based scholarships, so students benefit from the full GTCYS experience. To support their continued individual development as they advance, each student also benefits from regular private lessons with a high-quality instructor and a free instrument.

The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Partnership

In 2011, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and GTCYS formed a unique strategic partnership. Our organizations share office space and infrastructure, and collaborate on artistic and audience development initiatives.

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