2023-24 Musician Handbook: Other Programs & Collaborations

Summer Camps

GTCYS offers three summer orchestra camps and a brass camp 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. Summer camp registration is open until June 22.

Launch Lessons

Launch Lessons specifically support 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.

Pathway Musicians Program

GTCYS’ new Pathway Musicians Program nurtures the growth and talents of Black/African American and Latinx/Hispanic music students through a comprehensive, personalized support system. With up to $6,000 of annual financial assistance per student and mentoring from a professional musician, this program helps students reach their fullest musical potential within GTCYS and beyond. Pathway scholarships are renewable each year through high school graduation. This new program is designed to address racial disparities in the classical music field and to create opportunities for youth underrepresented in GTCYS. Click here to learn more.


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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