Creating stronger learners, building confidence, and opening new doors through music


In October 2016, GTCYS launched a new El Sistema-inspired music program in partnership with Riverview Elementary School on the West Side of St. Paul. The program, Harmony, started with 18 students in 3rd grade. Led by seasoned violin instructors and GTCYS conductors Barbara Flooding and Mary Sorlie, the program provides instruments, group lessons, performance opportunities on the West Side and at GTCYS concerts, mentoring by GTCYS students, and transportation home after each session. With the help of generous funders and the community, this program is highly accessible with a suggested $20 participant fee for the year.

This season, the program will double in size to serve 40 third and fourth graders three days a week instead of two. The addition of semi-private lessons (3-4 youth per teaching artist) will boost students’ progress, and four performances will provide incentive to excel. Harmony will have older student mentors all three days of program, giving GTCYS youth the chance to mentor, lead activities, and be a shining example of what’s possible if they stick with music. If you are a GTCYS student in 8th grade or above and would like to be a mentor, please contact gracie@gtcys.org.

Our long-term goal is to create a beginning level Philharmonia West Side orchestra, so Harmony students can experience the benefits of playing in an orchestra. From Philharmonia, students will eventually be able to move through GTCYS’ tiered orchestra structure, experiencing the full impact of GTCYS’ holistic programming and building valuable skills that help them succeed in school and beyond.


Harmony rehearses after school on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at Riverview Elementary School.

Teaching Artists

Barb FloodingBarbara Flooding, Lead Teaching Artist

Ms. Flooding recently retired as orchestra teacher at Valley View Middle School in Edina. Her teaching career began at St. Cloud Apollo High School and North Junior High School, where she directed the Apollo Symphony, Chamber Orchestra and Sinfonia, as well as two junior high orchestras. Read More »

Mary SorlieMary Sorlie, Lead Teaching Artist

As a studio teacher, Ms. Sorlie enjoys teaching violin to students of all ages and abilities. A GTCYS alumna, Ms. Sorlie was awarded the 2011 MNSOTA Master Teacher: Studio Award. Read More »


Ernesto Estigarribia, Teaching Artist

Ernesto Estigarribia serves as Music Director and Conductor of the Buffalo Community Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Southeastern Minnesota Youth Orchestras (SEMYO). He is working towards a doctoral degree in Orchestral Conducting, studying with Mark Russell Smith at the University of Minnesota where he is a recipient of the James Sample fellowship. Read More »

Yumhali García, Teaching Artist

Yumhali García earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Violin Performance in the Conservatorio de Las Rosas (Morelia, Mexico). His Master’s Degree was received at Western Michigan University where he was a student of Renata Knific. Read More »







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