On Sunday, our Spring Festival concerts at Orchestra Hall concluded a phenomenal 45th academic season. The concerts celebrated a year of enriching musical growth, social experiences, and performance opportunities for our eight orchestras. This Spring Festival marked the first performance at Orchestra Hall by our Harmony students who participated in a new violin instruction program on St. Paul’s West Side this year. Each orchestra and Harmony performed separately before playing together in a stunning mass finale of Holst’s Jupiter. Sunday’s repertoire also included an Italian opera aria, Berlioz’s famous March to the Scaffold, and music by Dvorak, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky as well as newer works written specifically for youth orchestras. Thank you to each of the 664 talented young musicians who made these performances truly remarkable!
At a reception between concerts at Orchestra Hall, we celebrated the accomplishments of 55 seniors in the Class of 2017 and welcomed them into the Alumni Association. They will be missed next year, but we know they’ll be experiencing rich new musical and educational endeavors. Students will attend colleges throughout the country, including Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carleton College, New England Conservatory, Barnard College, Peabody Conservatory, University of Minnesota, and St. Olaf College. Alumni will pursue diverse studies and interests and many said that music performance will continue to play an important part in their lives. Many of these students grew up in GTCYS and were with us for up to 10 years. Insights and memories from graduates include:
“My favorite GTCYS memory is of playing Jupiter in Orchestra Hall my first year, when I was in 7th grade. I was so impressed by all of the Symphony players on stage, and I wanted to be one of them.” Caitlin, Violin
“My favorite GTCYS memory was the reception after our concert with the other youth orchestras on tour in Argentina. The concert was incredible, and afterwards, brass players from both orchestras began to play and improvise together.” Eva, Cello
“GTCYS has taught me how to work with others unconditionally, no matter the task. We’ve been faced with incredibly challenging music which demands the highest standards, but GTCYS students have always risen above and beyond the goal. It really goes to show the power of a group of determined individuals working together.” Kennan, Horn
“English is not my primary language, so it was difficult to adjust when I first came to America. Participating in GTCYS, I have been able to express myself through the music in unison with my peers. I have found a purpose and sense of belonging while pursuing my passion for music in GTCYS.” Wendy, Violin
At the Spring Festival, we also celebrated the tenure of staff members who are departing GTCYS this season. After four years, Program Assistant Sarah Cooke will leave in June to pursue a career in website development and coding. Sarah’s friendly nature and can-do attitude have endeared her to families and staff. Steve Savre will be retiring in August after 25 years as our Librarian. Steve keeps things running behind the scenes, and we are grateful for his fastidious work, loyalty, and care. Concert Orchestra conductor Dr. Benjamin Klemme finished his fourth season with GTCYS on Sunday. Effective July 1, Dr. Klemme will assume a new role as Music Director of the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association, a prestigious post which is a testament to his tremendous talent and leadership.