Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra Celebrating 50th Anniversary By Making A Difference In Schools

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — The Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra brings together top musical talent from across North Texas. This year it’s celebrating its 50th anniversary, continuing to expand its reach by making a difference in local schools.

The organization was founded in 1972 by a group of parents, educators and musicians.

“We started with a small group of 35 young musicians that came from the Dallas area and over the past 50 years, we’ve grown to nine different ensembles of over 465 young musicians,” Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra Executive Director Cathy Hernandez said.

Hernandez has been integral part of continuing to grow and move the program forward.

“This year we are back in person rehearsing, kids are in and out of school and you know it’s been a struggle,” she said.

Through its Music Capacity Building program, conducting staff and coaches have been working with Dallas ISD to boost their music programs.

“We’re now in over 25 schools across the DISD, working on building up test scores and for school orchestras, that’s UIL test scores,” Hernandez said.

Over the past 50 years the orchestra has impacted the lives of more than 10,000 students and they’re continuing to expand. Auditions are now open with scholarship opportunities available.

“I hope we reach more kids within the DISD and other school districts too,” Hernandez said. “Every child should have the opportunity to play music they really want to.”

“I’ve actually learned how to communicate with other musicians while I’m playing with them,” GDYO musician Reina Shim said.

“Just being in the orchestra in general is just such an incredible and enriching experience,” GDYO musician Steven Lu said. “There’s so many great musicians that move on and actually pursue music. I highly, highly recommend it.”

Shim and Lu are two of the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra’s top performers.

They’ll be soloists at GDYO’s concert on Sunday, March 6 at 8 p.m. at the Meyerson.