One of the most comprehensive youth symphony programs in the nation, GTCYS serves nearly 600 elementary through high school students in six school-year and three summer orchestras. Beginning to advanced students develop musically and personally in a fun, supportive and challenging environment. Read on to learn more!
Each year, GTCYS’ six orchestras serve over 400 beginning to advanced students age 8 – 18. Led by premier conductors, weekly rehearsals focus on music fundamentals and theory, while providing a place for like-minded students to interact in a supportive and challenging environment. Coaches with professional musicians, bi-annual retreats, 3 – 4 annual concerts per orchestra, student leadership roles, and social activities provide students with a fun and comprehensive learning experience.
GTCYS offers two non-auditioned summer programs for beginning to advanced string, woodwind, brass, and percussion students in grades 2 – 12. Summer Orchestras provides students weekly rehearsals in June and July with a culminating concert at Como Park. Now in its second year, the week-long East Metro String Orchestra Camp provides string students a fun introduction to orchestral music. Registration for both programs begins in mid-February!
Saturday Special Chamber Music Program
2010 – 2011 marks the fourth year of a collaboration with the prestigious St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) to provide chamber music for GTCYS’ Philharmonic and Symphony musicians. The program includes three Saturday morning rehearsals coached by professional SPCO musicians and a formal recital at the SPCO Center. Additional student opportunities include attending an SPCO rehearsal and chamber music concert, plus performances at the St. Paul Public Library, and SPCO concert venues. Annual registration takes place in the fall.
Young Soloists Concerto Competition
Continuing a 40-year tradition, GTCYS’ annual concerto competition provides an opportunity for GTCYS members to demonstrate their talent by preparing and performing a concerto. Furthering GTCYS’ mission as an inclusive, educational youth organization, the competition is open to all GTCYS members. Each fall, a panel of professional musicians hears live auditions and selects finalists who go on to compete at the Concerto Competition Finals Recital at the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Center. Written comments from the judges give students critical feedback about their performance and how they can improve. The winner(s) performs his or her piece with GTCYS’ premier Symphony orchestra in the spring at Ted Mann Concert Hall under the direction of Artistic Director Amir Kats.
In September 2009, GTCYS launched Rising Harmonies, which welcomed 36 first and second-graders at Sojourner Truth Academy (STA) in North Minneapolis to a new, free after-school music program designed to improve students’ literacy scores and academic performance. In response to last year’s program success, Rising Harmonies expanded in fall 2010 to include third grade students.
Taught by three music specialists and assisted by GTCYS high school musician mentors, students participate in two weekly sessions. In partnership with Learning Through Music Consulting Group, the program utilizes a multi-literacy curriculum which uses music as a teaching language, emphasizing reading, practicing, and performing. Activities focus on solidifying students’ grasp of patterns and syllables by learning how to play the violin and recorder, as well as singing, clapping, drumming. Special highlights for Rising Harmonies students include multiple performances for peers, families and the North Minneapolis community.