2020-21 Re-Opening Plans

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As of February 15, 2021

GCTYO is reopening for in-person rehearsals beginning March 6! Rehearsals for different ensembles will take place in four different locations in Fairfield and North Bridgeport in order to spread students out and enable social distancing. Winds and strings will not rehearse together until we can rehearse outside.
All participating students must read the GCTYO Rehearsal Rules for Spring 2021 and parents must acknowledge the rules with a signed form.

As of December 15, 2020

We are planning to reopen for in-person rehearsals in March if it is safe to do so. Obviously we all have to get through the upcoming months, and we will have to follow State guidelines that are in effect at the time. But we will continue to work toward the goal of making music in person as soon as possible.

* Everyone – new, continuing and returning musicians – needs to audition for the Spring session. Click here for instructions on how to submit your audition video.

* There will be no sectional or orchestra rehearsals in January or February. Sign up for Enrichment Classes instead!

* The Fall virtual concert will be released after the holidays, probably in early January.

   * If you already paid your audition fee for this season, you do not need to pay it again. Please check your records for a $25 payment to GCTYO if you are not sure. 
Thank you for your continued support of and enthusiasm for GCTYO!


An innovative virtual performance project by GCTYO

As of Aug. 28, 2020

We are excited to announce a project we will be working on together as an organization while we are engaged in distance learning.  GCTYO has commissioned our own Emmy award-winning composer, Dr. Rex Cadwallader, to write an orchestral suite specifically for our virtual experience.

This new work will be a suite made up of short movements, each 3-4 minutes long. Everyone who participates in GCTYO sectional instruction this fall will contribute to its performance. Students will learn the movements specifically designed for their level during their Saturday group instruction. At the end of the fall session, each student will record their parts and submit them. We will put everything together virtually and present the premiere later this year. Each of the movements will be written so that all of our students, at every level across the various ensembles, will be challenged.

As a result of this project, we have extended our virtual learning session through December 19th, and we may extend it further. This will allow us to keep students engaged long term and give us a goal to work toward together.

Students will also learn other repertoire during the fall session. Repertoire will be chosen by the lead instructor of each ensemble to which students are assigned. This additional repertoire will also be recorded and released in a virtual concert format similar to our June virtual concert.

This is a unique and exciting opportunity for our community to perform as one orchestra. It is not something we can do in person because there are simply too many GCTYO musicians to fit on any one stage. It’s also an opportunity for our students to premiere a new work by a contemporary composer – they will be the first musicians to perform this piece. Let’s embrace the benefits of virtual learning and make beautiful music together! We hope you will all join us in this special endeavor.



As of Aug. 21, 2020

We are pleased to offer virtual enrichment classes in addition to virtual sectional instruction.

Four different enrichment classes will be offered: Music Theory, Jazz Theory, Composition, and Aural Skills.

Music Theory

Music Theory is the study of how music works. Students will learn about rhythms, scale construction, triads, clef reading, and basic transposition. These classes will be organized by age and level of experience. No prior knowledge of music theory is required to sign up. We will offer a more advanced class for students who are already familiar with the basics. The advanced class will cover harmony and basic part writing. Classes will run approximately 60 minutes. 

Jazz Theory

Learn the inner workings of jazz including harmony and improvisation from a true master of this medium. A basic knowledge of music theory and working knowledge of the construction of major scales is required. Students will play during these sessions, getting hands on experience and learning what to think about while improvising. Classes will run approximately 60 minutes. 


Learn how to write your own music! In this class, students will learn how music is created and get hands on practice with writing a piece. Knowledge of basic theory and scale construction is required. Classes will run approximately 60 minutes. 

Aural Skills

Aural Skills, or ear training, is a branch of music theory in which students learn to identify pitches, intervals, melody, chords, and rhythm simply by listening to them. Students will also learn basic solfege which allows students to sing melodies at sight. Students do not need prior ear training to sign up. Students will be required to sing. These classes will be organized by age and level of experience. Classes will run approximately 60 minutes. 

Each class is $250. Details on dates and times and how to enroll will be available soon. Students do not need to be enrolled in sectional instruction to take an enrichment class.

Contact the Executive Director with questions.


As of Aug. 18, 2020

GCTYO has announced that it will open only virtually for the fall semester. We had originally announced plans to open for in-person rehearsals as well, but we have concluded the risks are too great right now to pursue that course. We regret the disappointment this change may cause for families but our primary responsibility is to keep our children, families and staff safe. 

So, what will our program look like? 
We will offer 90-minute virtual sectionals on Saturday mornings. The sectionals will be grouped by instrument and will focus on technique, general musicianship, and repertoire. Students will play during these sectionals; they will be instructed by one of our teachers and will be given assignments to practice each week. The goal will be to put together a virtual performance, much like the one we presented in June. 

Tuition will be reduced from what was announced last week to $400 for this virtual semester. Auditions are required. They will be conducted via videos submitted to GCTYO. We will send detailed instructions about auditions to everyone who has registered.
This virtual experience will also allow us to put together “ensembles” like String Orchestra, Concert Orchestra, etc., that will mirror the “normal” structure we follow. 

We will still offer our music enrichment classes which can be taken in addition to a virtual ensemble or as a stand-alone experience.  Enrichment classes will be $250 each. 

Should the numbers in Connecticut continue to remain low, and further shutdown does not occur, we will revisit our position and consider an in-person option at that point. 
We look forward to the time when we can all make music together in person.