Concert Orchestra

With a focus on developing artistry, musicianship, and excellence, Concert Orchestra explores challenging repertoire in a community-focused setting.


Ben KlemmeConductor Benjamin Klemme (conducting Concert Orchestra through the 2016-17 season) instills his passion for musicianship and expertise as an educator into the Concert Orchestra experience. Under Dr. Klemme’s leadership, musicians employ curiosity, build community, and share a commitment to excellence which nurtures students’ individual technique and the ensemble’s artistry. With challenging repertoire that includes original orchestral works, Concert Orchestra has five annual performances, including two at Orchestra Hall. String players in Concert Orchestra have an average of 6 to 8 years of experience and winds/brass/percussion students have been playing their instruments for 4 to 8 years. Special artistic projects, sectionals, retreats, social activities, and extra opportunities provide a well-rounded and transformative experience which develops students’ musical, leadership, and lifelong skills.

Mark Gitch (conducting Concert Orchestra beginning the 2017-18 season), the Director of Orchestras at Wayzata High School since 2005, traces his love for orchestral music back to the Mounds View orchestra program and teachers Doug Overland and John Madura. Further encouraged through violin lessons with Mary Horozaniecki, and energized by his time in GTCYS’ Symphony Orchestra under Dr. William LaRue Jones, Mr. Gitch went on to earn degrees in music education from St. Olaf College (B.A. ‘88) and the University of St. Thomas (M.A. ‘02). Mr. Gitch began his teaching career in Owatonna, where he taught until moving to Wayzata. In addition to his career in the public schools, Mr. Gitch has conducted for the Southeastern Minnesota Youth Orchestras and the MacPhail Center for Music Suzuki Program, served as Music Director for the Owatonna Community Orchestra, guest conducted the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, and remained active as a violinist. Mr. Gitch has also served in leadership positions at the local, regional and state level, including board terms with the Minnesota Music Educators Association (MMEA) and the Minnesota String and Orchestra Teachers Association (MNSOTA). He was the recipient of the 2004 MNSOTA Master Teacher – School Orchestra award and the 2002 Owatonna Community Arts Award. Mr. Gitch and his daughter, Maya, live in St. Louis Park.


Concert Orchestra rehearses on Mondays (September through early May) from 7:00 – 9:00pm at Richfield United Methodist Church, 5835 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis.

Listen Now

Concert Orchestra performed at GTCYS’ Spring Festival at Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis, on Sunday, May 8, 2016. Listen to a sample of their performance of their live performance at that concert of Slavonic Dance, Opus 46, No. 2 by Antonin Dvorak here. Interested in purchasing the full performance? Click here to purchase CDs and MP3s!


Concert Orchestra’s spring 2017 repertoire includes original orchestral works and arrangements, such as:

  • Waltz from Masquerade by Aram Khachaturian
  • Variations on a Shaker Melody by Aaron Copland
  • Fanfare and Arrayment by M. L. Daniels
  • Pomp and Circumstance March No. 4 by Edward Elgar


GTCYS commits to providing an inspiring and comprehensive musical experience to transform students musically, personally, and socially. This means engaging the best conductors and sectional coaches, carefully curating musical selections for the best educational experience, performing in high quality venues, sharing music with diverse audiences, providing clear and consistent communications, promoting a welcoming and supportive environment, and putting students first.

In return, we ask students and parents for their commitment:

  • Pay annual tuition and retreat fees: $765 + $100 for Concert Orchestra’s 2017–18 season. Need-based scholarships are available, see below.
    • Note: tuition represents half the actual cost to participate and the remainder is subsidized by tax-deductible contributions. GTCYS does NOT ask families to participate in door-to-door fundraising activities.
  • Practice GTCYS music 10 minutes daily and come prepared to rehearsals; see the Attendance Policy for details.
  • Honor the attendance policy and abide by the student code of conduct; see Musician’s Handbook for details.


GTCYS serves all interested, dedicated students, regardless of financial constraints by providing $50,000 in need-based scholarships annually. Click here to learn more about scholarships »


Every student must audition annually for membership in GTCYS. Auditions include a short solo, memorized scales, and sight reading. Students interested being considered for GTCYS’ most advanced orchestras, Philharmonic and Symphony, must also prepare specified orchestral excerpts. Previous participation does not guarantee placement.


Extra Opportunities for Concert Orchestra Students

GTCYS Ambassadors: Students gain valuable communication and advocacy skills by sharing a 5-minute presentation about their GTCYS experience with their school band or orchestra. Training provided! Stay tuned for details about the 2016–17 Ambassador program.

Leadership Opportunities: Develop leadership skills and build service hours for your college resume as an audition aide, student speaker, donor liaison, and other volunteer positions. Stay tuned for details about the 2016–17 leadership opportunities.

For information about getting involved, contact or call 651.602.6807.

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