By Megen Balda, The Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies
The Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies (GTCYS) honored the organization’s rich history by celebrating its 40th Anniversary to a sold-out crowd at Orchestra Hall on May 6. Performances by all six orchestras were followed by a spectacular finale: over 425 current students and 60 alumni joined forces to perform Holst’s Jupiterconducted by special guest and GTCYS’ founding Artistic Director Dr. William LaRue Jones. Three of GTCYS’ founding fathers from 1972 – Larry Gibson, Henry Charles Smith and Dick Sieber – shared personal stories during the concert and a video with live Symphony accompaniment portrayed visual highlights of GTCYS’ history. Alumni chamber ensembles provided pre-concert music while audience members participated in the annual silent auction which raised over $16,000 for student scholarships.
The celebration also marked the launch of GTCYS’ new Alumni Association which provides social, professional, service, and musical opportunities for interested alumni. The first stage of an extensive search is underway to find 2,500 lost alumni. Having pursued careers in all fields – not just music – GTCYS alumni are represented across the globe. Two of GTCYS’ most high profile alumni include Pixar’s creative genius Pete Docter and former Miss America Gretchen Carlson. Local alumni include Minnesota Orchestra violinist Michael Sutton, actress Sally Wingert, and Ciceron Founder/CEO Andrew Eklund who met his wife in GTCYS and now has two children enrolled in the program.