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GTCYS Announces Hybrid, In-Person Fall Plans

Music and community are more important than ever, and we know that GTCYS fills an important musical niche for students.

That’s why GTCYS’ planning over the last few months has been guided by our principles to:

  • Protect the health and safety of our students, staff, and the GTCYS community

  • Sustain our mission to provide high-quality music education through ensemble experiences that are accessible and equitable

  • Support students, parents, and staff with clear policies and transparent communication, and a commitment to adapt with changing circumstances

After careful planning to adapt our programming and create new safety protocols in close consultation with local health professionals and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), GTCYS will offer in-person, socially distanced rehearsals using a hybrid approach this fall, alternating in-person rehearsals with at-home participation via a livestream. While this is our initial plan, we will adapt as the situation continues to evolve.

Safety is our top priority. In alignment with MDH recommendations for music activities which were posted today, some of our extensive program adaptations and safety protocols include:

  • Divide all orchestras into groups of 25 students 

  • Rent large capacity rehearsal venues and relocate some orchestras to ballrooms

  • Limit rehearsals to 60-75 minutes depending on the orchestra

  • Maintain social distancing at all times, with at least 6’ between string players and more for wind/brass players

  • Require health screening surveys prior to each activity plus onsite temperature checks; anyone with symptoms of any kind and/or a fever may not attend

  • Require all individuals to wear masks at all times, even while playing instruments; conductors will be masked and amplified with a microphone, and winds/brass will use instrument covers and wear specially designed masks

You can read a summary of our COVID-19 protocols and GTCYS’ complete Program Preparedness Plan for more details. We are grateful to a team of health professionals, including epidemiologists from the MDH, for informing and reviewing our plans. We also appreciate the ongoing leadership from our board of directors, several of whom are current and past parents of GTCYS students.

Access and equity are also of continued importance. We acknowledge the challenging times and continue to encourage scholarship requests if finances are a barrier. We have awarded nearly $80,000 in scholarships so far and are prepared to offer additional assistance, thanks to our community of donors. Learn more about applying for scholarships or how to support scholarships with a charitable gift. We are still accepting auditions on a rolling basis: learn more about auditions.

While the fall will look different than the past, many things will remain the same, including our talented and caring conductors, exciting repertoire, the joy of group music-making, and our organized staff. We are excited to embark on this journey with families and look forward to sharing music with you soon!

Megen Balda
Executive Director

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