With GTCYS’ 52nd season underway, we are building on the momentum from our 50th anniversary, entering a new era of growth. We extend our deepest gratitude to outgoing board president David Zoll for his four years of service in that role as well as his previous four years as a board member. David led GTCYS’ board through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic while still celebrating our 50th anniversary milestone! Thank you, David, for your incredible service to GTCYS students, families, and the community, and for continuing on the board as past president.
This November, nine-year board member Maurice Holloman stepped into the board president role. A seasoned veteran of the GTCYS board, Maurice is excited to serve in this new capacity. Maurice’s journey led him to GTCYS after a chance connection through a now fellow board member. A longtime audience member in the Twin Cities music scene and general music lover, Maurice jumped at the chance to join a music organization!
Maurice says, “The thing that reached me and still resonates with me is the fact that we use orchestral music as a means to teach life skills. So, whether a student decides they are going into a music career or not, the skills that they learn being a part of GTCYS will help them be successful anywhere.” In Maurice’s career, he has seen how values like teamwork, perseverance, accountability, and responsibility apply to any potential job. He believes you need to be able to overcome challenges and work with others in order to be successful. Students in GTCYS orchestras need to be able to work together, with other young musicians they’ve never met from across the Twin Cities, to create polished musical performances through teamwork and collaboration.
Maurice is passionate about sharing musical opportunities with young people who might not have access. In his early days on GTCYS’ board, he grew interested in outreach to the broader community. He says, “We started looking at access to excellence and being able to provide opportunities to a broader swath of young people. No matter what background a student might have, they can have opportunities in GTCYS through scholarships and other means of access.” GTCYS’ diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives extend beyond our orchestras into programs like Harmony and our new Pathway Musicians Program, as well as diversifying audiences and expanding the variety of music and composers that students perform. Achieving this requires expanding our brand recognition and community outreach into new areas and to new audiences. Students can join GTCYS from all backgrounds and with all musical skill abilities. He emphasizes that the program has value at all levels, welcoming any student whether they aspire to progress to Symphony, or thrive at their current level.
Launching GTCYS’ Harmony strings program in 2016 stands out as a key project from Maurice’s history on the board. An in-school program was a new idea to collaborate with local students who may not have had access to a strings program like this in their area. He saw the foundations form—understanding student needs, building a partnership with the school, and involving parents. Maurice remembers a special visit to Harmony after the launch, “One of my greatest memories with Harmony was when the board attended one of their rehearsals. We’re in their environment and they taught a non-musical person how to play a piece on the violin, not a long piece, but a few notes. They became the instructors for us board members! I was happy I was able to actually play something, and they were happy to show us some of the skills that they learned.” He is excited to see Harmony’s continued growth over the years.
As he begins his new role as board president, Maurice says he values developing a strong board of directors, increasing visibility in the community, and using the board’s connections to further GTCYS’ goals. He is especially interested in seeing young alumni join the board, to use their experience as students to help lead the organization. It is Maurice’s goal to leave the organization better than when he joined, building upon GTCYS’ legacy. In his personal life, Maurice enjoys volunteering, traveling, fishing, and golfing. He and his wife of 39 years live in Minnetonka, and their two grown children also reside in the Twin Cities. Maurice shares, “If I have a mission in life, it’s to help people be better.” We are thrilled to welcome Maurice into this new role as board president, and can’t wait to see how his passion, skillset, and experience will shape GTCYS’ future!