GTCYS students bring holiday cheer to community audiences across the Twin Cities

Mary Sorlie conducts Philharmonia East students with Christmas outfits and decorations.

“We are so fortunate that every year, the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies has partnered with Folkestone to bring music to our residents. Concerts like this bring harmony, love, and joy to their hearts.” – Christine Nye, Life Enrichment and Volunteer Director at Folkestone  

Over the last few weeks, GTCYS orchestras uplifted audiences through free concerts across our community. In GTCYS, students learn the importance of community engagement and understand that music is most powerful and life-changing when it is shared.  

At the Folkestone senior community in Wayzata, Philharmonia West brought holiday cheer and Forte, one of GTCYS’ chamber quartets, joined the fun with a special performance. After the concert, students made intergenerational connections with the residents over a shared love for music. 

Sinfonia West and conductor Laura Hebert brightened the spirits of seniors at Friendship Village in Bloomington. Their music made everyone smile!  

Philharmonia East was thrilled to share their talents with an eager audience of seniors at Johanna Shores in Arden Hills.  

Conductor Dan Mollick and the musicians of Concertino West created a joyful space for seniors at Trillium Woods in Plymouth through a lively and festive performance. Students and audience members shared their thoughts after the concert: 

“Today is special because I get to perform for people who usually can’t go out and do activities outside or go to certain concerts, so I feel like it’s a special event for them that we get to be here to play music.” – Concertino West student, violin 

“They played such a great concert. It was fun to listen to and I could relate to it.” – Trillium Woods resident 

“It’s wonderful, it takes us down memory lane!” – Trillium Woods resident 

Concert Orchestra performed at Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities men’s campus in St. Paul. We’re grateful to students and conductor Jack Reynertson for continuing this annual tradition. Our students truly benefit from the opportunity to meet new audiences in different venues. We asked students, staff, and residents to share their thoughts after the concert: 

“What’s special is we’re in a homeless shelter, they don’t hear this every day.” – Concert Orchestra student, violin 

“I think it’s a wonderful experience for our guests and residents to have this opportunity to hear symphony music. It’s beneficial in both ways! We always love having folks who may have not ever been to the mission come for even just a small feeling of what we do, and who we are, and who we serve in the community. I think it was a win-win for both of us!” – Sarah, Union Gospel Mission staff 

“What did I enjoy? To be able to hear a symphony, I’ve never heard one.” – Union Gospel Mission resident 

“I think the community really likes listening. Personally, it’s fun to listen to live music, especially well-known songs, and it’s fun for us to go to smaller places and play!” – Philharmonic student, horn 

Finally, a packed audience enjoyed a festive performance by Camerata and Philharmonic at Roseville Lutheran Church, featuring spirited classics like “Trepak” from The Nutcracker and “White Christmas” by Irving Berlin. Visit our YouTube page to watch the full concert recording of Camerata and Philharmonic’s community concert at Roseville Lutheran Church. 

Thank you to all who attended, and to our donors for helping to make these free concerts possible.  

  • Philharmonia East led by Mary Sorlie plays at Johanna Shores in Arden Hills

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