Music Brings Joy Back to Families

Music is built on community. You bond over a memorable performance. Laugh with friends during a rehearsal. Share peace and power in music and silence. Because of COVID-19, students and families have been away from their community – their home at GTCYS – for too long. But that changed when GTCYS launched in-person rehearsals at the end of September.

GTCYS’ in-person rehearsals bring students together and strengthen the GTCYS community when needed the most. “It is important to have GTCYS in [my daughters’] lives so they can continue to learn, grow, and be challenged in their instruments. Playing in a group is valued now, more than ever,” says Katie Brien, a GTCYS parent with daughters in Philharmonia West and Concert Orchestra. Brien’s eldest daughter, Abbe, joined GTCYS five years ago, and has enjoyed the music, conductors, rehearsals, retreats, and concerts that normally fill a GTCYS season. Brien’s youngest daughter, Audrey, couldn’t wait to join GTCYS this year after seeing her older sister thrive in GTCYS. Already, Audrey is growing in her first few Philharmonia West rehearsals with conductor Mary Sorlie. “[Audrey’s] biggest takeaway from her first rehearsal is that Mary ‘loves mistakes!’. This put her at ease while enjoying playing with others for the first time,” Brien says. “The confidence she gained at that moment is absolutely marvelous.”

A parent of two in Sinfonia East, Eric Luedtke also reflects on the importance of GTCYS in a time when we long for connection. “GTCYS has provided an opportunity for our kids to get out of the house in a safe environment and to experience some idea of the life we were experiencing prior to COVID-19 restrictions,” he says. Luedtke understands the value GTCYS provides beyond the notes on the page. “In the three years our girls have participated in GTCYS we have come to realize that it is so much more than a music ensemble. GTCYS is teaching life lessons that are critical to our children feeling more confident in the wider world.”

The wider world is reeling right now. Uncertainty abounds, and it can be hard to know where to turn for comfort and healing. For many, music is the answer. That’s the case for Jennifer Gravdahl and her daughter, a member of Concert Orchestra. “I know that music is such a necessary part of my self-care. And, for my daughter, I see her as having that same need for music,” Gravdahl says. “Music improves any day for her. It reduces her anxiety and increases her joy.” Music certainly has the power to heal and mend. And this healing occurs through the unique bonds formed when playing music together. “While making music alone is good, making music with other people is so much better, and the effect of making music together cannot be replaced,” Gravdahl continues. “It is such a joy for me to see all these kids getting a piece of that joy back.”

Want to join GTCYS and make music in person? GTCYS is accepting video auditions through October 23 to participate this semester. Learn more and audition today at gtcys.org/auditions.


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