Harmony Coordinator Alliance VISTA

Title: Harmony Coordinator Alliance VISTA
Placement Site: Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies
Service Term: August 2, 2018 – August 1, 2019
Contact: Gracie Miller, Community Engagement Coordinator Gracie@gtcys.org 651-602-6806

Want to make a difference by helping to break down barriers to music instruction? Join the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies as we grow our after school music program for youth! Be part of a passionate team and change young lives!

About the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies and Harmony

The Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies (GTCYS) transforms young musicians of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds by breaking down barriers to music instruction and providing exceptional year-round orchestral experiences. GTCYS serves 1,000 students ages 8-18 through eight academic-year orchestras, two summer programs, and Harmony violin instruction program. This year, GTCYS students will share 25 concerts and inspire 17,000 community members through our educational activities and performances. Committed to making our programs accessible, GTCYS will award $100,000 in need-based tuition and tour scholarships this year.

GTCYS’ newest initiative is Harmony, an after-school violin instruction program in partnership with Riverview West Side School of Excellence in St. Paul. Launched in fall 2016, Harmony’s mission is to create stronger learners, build confidence, and open new doors through music. Program activities take place three days a week during the school year, and include group instruction, semi-private lessons, mentoring by older GTCYS musicians, and performance opportunities, plus additional summer opportunities. Harmony currently serves 40 third and fourth graders, and will expand to 60 students and fifth grade in the fall. Designed to be highly accessible and break down barriers for students who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity, GTCYS provides instruments, instruction, transportation, and concert attire for a $20 annual participation fee.

GTCYS is committed to the long-term success and growth of this program as a partner with the West Side community. Expanding Harmony in a sustainable way is the focus of our VISTA project. This will ensure continued access and high quality programming for students while they’re in Harmony and after they advance into GTCYS’ other orchestras. Harmony students are primarily children of immigrants, with the majority being fluent in Spanish and English. Almost all qualify for free or reduced lunch, and will qualify for need-based scholarships as they join GTCYS’ older orchestras in the future.

Learn more at www.gtcys.org and https://www.gtcys.org/orchestras/harmony.

VISTA Responsibilities

The 2018-2019 Harmony Coordinator VISTA will focus on building GTCYS’ capacity to help develop a two-part learning continuum for Harmony: How to sustain the program’s expansion to serve more youth; and how to continue to serve those youth as they grow up. In addition to assisting with program needs outlined below, the VISTA will help us develop plans to expand traditional funding sources, identify creative funding opportunities, and gather community input to stayed aligned with the community’s needs.

The VISTA will:

  • Identify partnership opportunities within the community to support growth (venues, musicians, transportation)
  • Formalize a mentor recruitment process from our orchestras to expand the depth and breadth of our mentorship program
  • Co-create or identify an evaluation process that accurately reflects our program
  • Help develop new funding sources, beyond traditional grants
  • Find new ways to effectively communicate with families
  • Create a structure for private lessons during school breaks

Alliance VISTA Position Main Goals and Responsibilities:

Co-create an expansion plan for Harmony that includes more grades, instruments and youth

  • Enhance relationships with West Side community organizations, including West Side Community Organization, West Siders for Strong Schools, etc.
  • Co-create new channels of bilingual communications: monthly Harmony newsletter, new electronic messaging system, etc.
  • Long-term planning for Harmony recruitment, how to best recruit and serve west side students

Co-create a learning continuum for Harmony alumni that extends beyond their years in Harmony:

  • Help develop next steps for graduating 5th graders to continue with GTCYS, including a database of schools they are attending and music programs at each one
  • Begin outlining a long-term Harmony alumni support plan
  • Create a training and orientation for alumni mentors 

Evaluate and promote the success of our program:

  • Identify gaps in our current evaluation process, especially mentor evaluation
  • Streamline current system of interviewing youth for fall evaluation
  • Pilot new evaluations 

AmeriCorps Eligibility Requirements:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Be a U.S. Citizen or U.S. National or have status as a Lawful Permanent Resident Alien
  • Attend Pre-Service Orientation July 30-August 2, 2018
  • Please note that final candidates will be required to successfully pass a background check before being officially enrolled as an AmeriCorps VISTA Member.


  • Interest in music, youth, service, education, and non-profit work
  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Ability to deal effectively with a variety of tasks, priorities, and people in order to meet goals
  • Self-motivated, able to work in a team, take initiative and work independently
  • Able to present oneself in a highly professional manner and be an ambassador of the program
  • Bilingual Spanish/English strongly preferred

Weekly Schedule:

  • Monday – Friday 9:00am-5:00pm with occasional evening or weekend events
  • VISTA Members serve in a full-time capacity for a minimum of 40 hours per week during their term of service
  • AmeriCorps VISTA Members may NOT be in school full-time or have another full-time position and serve with the Alliance, but may have a part time job/school.


As a full-term AmeriCorps member, VISTAs serve full-time for 12 months and receive: Modest Living Allowance (approximately $472 pre-tax biweekly); Health Care Allowance (~$6,600 that can be applied to any out of pocket costs, cannot go towards premiums, non-essential health expenses, or dependents); Qualified Student Loan Forbearance; $5,920 Education Award or cash stipend (approx.. $1,800 for regular members) upon successful completion of service; $550 service relocation allowance (for VISTAs relocating more than 50 miles,) and ongoing, extensive support and training.


This position requires a dual hiring process, where both Americorps and Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies must approve of the hire. Apply online at https://careers-mnyouth.icims.com/jobs/1163/greater-twin-cities-youth-symphonies%3a-harmony-coordinator-vista-2018-19/job. The website will walk you through the application process. Applications will be reviewed and Americorps staff will set up interviews prior to GTCYS’ involvement in the application process.

For general questions about serving as an AmeriCorps member through Minnesota Alliance With Youth, please contact the Recruitment Team at recruitment@mnyouth.net or 651-587-0531.

Please note:
We are committed to recruiting and engaging individuals without regard to disability, gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation. This position may not displace another employee or position in any way. Reasonable accommodations provided upon request for interviews and service activities. This document is available in alternative formats.


Volunteers provide vital assistance by helping with administrative duties, program activities, concert events, special events, and fundraising. If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact Katie Heilman at katie@gtcys.org.

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