We are always thrilled when one of our alums follows their musical journey back to GTCYS! Lisa Dixon French played clarinet with GTCYS from 1996-1999 and joined GTCYS’ board of directors as a new member last spring. Lisa spent four years in GTCYS, playing with Symphony for two of those years. Her most memorable GTCYS experience was Symphony’s Eastern Europe tour in 1999. She made great memories traveling and forming friendships, and greatly valued being part of the community outside of school. Lisa took private lessons and played in Edina Public Schools wind ensembles and high school orchestras. GTCYS was a wonderful complement and set her up well to study clarinet performance and music education at Eastman School of Music. She also completed a certificate program in arts leadership, sparking her pursuits in arts administration.
Post-Eastman, Lisa worked with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO), where she reconnected and stayed in touch with now GTCYS executive director Megen Balda. During that time, she also served as a GTCYS Rehearsal Assistant. Lisa says, “GTCYS launched the music track for me.” For fifteen years, she held executive roles at the Portland (Maine) Symphony, Nashville Ballet, and the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. After pursuing an MBA, she accepted a role as Chief of Staff at a healthcare technology startup where she currently works.
Lisa shares, “My fellow GTCYS students inspired me. It is amazing to perform with students at your level or higher. GTCYS introduced me to the broader music community and gave me confidence to pursue music beyond high school.”
Today, Lisa enjoys playing clarinet and piano for her kids. Her oldest child is taking piano lessons! She continues to be an avid consumer of music as a patron and attendee. Joining the GTCYS board is an exciting new venture in her musical journey. Lisa is thrilled to join the governance committee which is a passion of hers, and she looks forward to supporting GTCYS’ staff as a board member.
When asked where she thinks GTCYS is excelling and where she hopes to see GTCYS grow, Lisa says, “GTCYS has done an amazing job – numbers are increasing, GTCYS is reaching out in the community and encouraging more students to participate. I am excited that GTCYS is taking a leadership role in EDI through new programs and learning along the way.”
We are thrilled to have Lisa join the board as an alum and an experienced arts administrator. We can’t wait to see what she will contribute to GTCYS’ future. Welcome back, Lisa!