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Greater Connecticut Youth Orchestras (GCTYO) is grounded in the conviction that music education is a vital part of the education and development of young people and of communities as a whole. Accordingly, our music programs develop and support young musicians with an understanding that they are also part of a much larger world that is both diverse and historically complex. With this larger global context in mind, GCTYO recognizes that delivery of a robust and meaningful music education must begin with an acknowledgement of the historical inequity, exclusion and disparity of access to resources that shape the landscape in which we live. Euro-centricity, hetero-normative gender expectations, colonial conquest, and anti-Black racism have shaped the history of classical and symphonic music and continue to determine access to and success in the field. Given the systemic racism,  anti-LGBTQ bias, gender bias, and white privilege that dominates the orchestral world, our organization commits to creating opportunities for the meaningful inclusion of historically under-represented voices, particularly those from Black and Brown communities. These efforts will include (but are not limited to) equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist pedagogical and performance practices, diversifying our musical repertoire to include musicians and composers of color, and hiring staff that is diverse and reflective of our student community and the global community in which we live. In an effort toward accountability for these goals, we pledge to regularly engage our student musicians, parents, and GCTYO community by conducting annual assessments and inviting comments and suggestions about our progress. Our hope is that students emerge from the GCTYO music program as strong musicians with a deep commitment to social justice and an understanding of how music can play a part in achieving unity and equity for all.

AAPI Statement of Support

Spring 2021

GCTYO stands with the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community who have been targeted, harassed and endured violent discrimination during the coronavirus pandemic. We recognize the valuable contributions of the AAPI community to our orchestras and to society as a whole. Racism against AAPIs has a long history in our nation that has been unaddressed and GCTYO takes an actively anti-racist stance against this bias.

Statement of Unity

Summer 2020

Dear GCTYO Family,

It is times like these when we truly miss the community that an organization like GCTYO provides. A sense of togetherness and unity can be lost when we are forced to be at a distance.

We are committed to being allies of our black and brown families. We recognize that they are living with deep pain and fear, subjected to the threat of police violence and ongoing oppression in a racist society.

As a youth organization, we worry most about our children. They are trying to find a sense of belonging and their own niche in this crazy world. When news of racism and senseless loss occurs, it creates fear, confusion, and unsettledness.

Greater Connecticut Youth Orchestras prides itself on providing a safe and inclusive environment, where students can come and express themselves without fear of judgment or ridicule. Students of all colors sit together and create music and connections. And through that creation, we send a clear message of peace and humanity.

We want to reassure everyone in our community that despite the recent distance and the fact that we are ending our season for the summer, GCTYO is still here. We are here for your children, and we stand side by side with our black and brown families and with those who seek justice, equality, and harmony.


Chris Hisey, Music Director

Beth Ulman, Executive Director

Sara Seaburg, President, Board of Directors