Three GTCYS Symphony Musicians selected as From the Top Fellows!

Three students pictured holding instruments (cello, trumpet, violin).

We are thrilled for our GTCYS Symphony musicians Sophia Alexander (cello), Christian Garner (trumpet), and Lorelei Schoenhard (violin), who have been selected as From the Top Fellows! This is an exciting opportunity for these young musicians to share their talent on a national level, gain new skills from a professional music organization, and practice community engagement in their work. Read more about the students below and how they will be working with From the Top this year! 

Meet the GTCYS From the Top Fellows 

Each of the three students shared their personal bio and photo below.

Sophia with celloSophia Alexander is a 10th grader at The Blake School, and studies cello with Mina Fisher. She has been a part of GTCYS Symphony since 2021, and last year performed Lalo’s Cello Concerto as a soloist with Symphony. 





Christian with trumpetChristian Garner is a 15-year-old freshman at Minnetonka High School in MinnesotaHe’s been studying trumpet for five years, is a student of Robert Dorer, and is in his third year as principal trumpet in Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies (GTCYS) top touring ensemble, Symphony. Career highlights for Christian include playing in National Youth Ensemble’s NYO2 at Carnegie Hall and on tour in the Dominican Republic, playing Shostakovich Symphony No. 5 in a Greek amphitheater with GTCYS Symphony on their 2022 Southern Italy Tour, and playing piccolo trumpet on Handel’s Messiah in No Limits Brass Choir. 


Lorelei with violinLorelei Schoenhard lives in Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where she began her musical training in the Saint Cloud State University Music Preparatory Program.  She studies violin with Marion Judish and piano with Bonnie Sorenson-Ernst. This is her third year in the GTCYS Symphony. She performed Saint-Saëns’ Violin Concerto No. 3 as the winner of the Saint Cloud Symphony Young Performers Competition, and was also a winner in the Minnesota String & Orchestra Teachers Association (MNSOTA) Mary West Solo Competition and the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Minnesota Competition.  


Program Summary (Courtesy of From the Top) 

As a From the Top Fellows, the students will complete From the Top’s Learning & Media Lab online course and will appear on From the Top’s NPR broadcast/podcast airing nationally the week of February 12, 2024 and heard locally on Minnesota Public Radio, YourClassicalMPR, Sunday, February 18 at 1:00 PM. They will record their segment on October 27, 2023 at Minnesota Public Radio with host/pianist Peter Dugan.  

From the Top’s Learning and Media Lab Fellowship provides young musicians a space to explore life as an artist, content creation, and the power of community engagement while connecting with peers and professional guest artists. Fellows also have the unique opportunity to share their performances and perspectives on From the Top’s broadcast/podcast and digital platforms. 

Selected from a national pool of applicants, From the Top Fellows attend seven online learning sessions over the course of about four weeks. These sessions cover a range of topics from storytelling to studio recording and include two conversations with professional guest artists such as Davóne Tines, Emi Ferguson, Kevin Olusola, Adrian Anantawan, and more. Fellows also plan and implement their own community engagement concert as part of the Fellowship requirements. They are also invited to collaborate with From the Top on digital/social media, such as Daily Joy and Instagram. 

From the Top is a non-profit organization based in Boston dedicated to celebrating and empowering young musicians. Through its weekly NPR radio program and digital media, Learning and Media Lab Fellowship, scholarships, and Daily-Joy.org, From the Top provides young musicians with a platform to share their artistry and stories, and a space to learn about the power of community engagement and the life of an artist. These programs connect young musicians and music lovers of all ages. From the Top receives funding support from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and contributions from generous individuals. Learn more at fromthetop.org. 

Stay tuned for more updates from GTCYS later this season! We will be following their work as they complete their online courses and fellowship requirements, record their performance and interview, and share it with a nationwide audience. Congratulations to these talented young musicians!  

Serving Community.
Supported by Community.

Explore stories from students, staff, families, donors, and alumni. Learn about our programs and community impact.

Learn More
Skip to content