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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Empire State Youth Orchestra Secures $150,000 in National, Regional, and State Funding


The Empire State Youth Orchestra is making waves this season with a whopping $150,000 in national, regional, and state grants.

Among these grants is a prestigious National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Challenge America Award of $10,000, which will provide crucial support to the orchestra’s Creating Harmony, Inspiring Musical Excellence (CHIME) Amplify Our Voice program, as well as various scholarships for ensemble members.

This marks the second year in a row that CHIME has received this esteemed award.

“The NEA is thrilled to award this grant to Empire State Youth Orchestra, contributing to the strength and well-being of the arts sector and local community,” said National Endowment for the Arts Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD, in a press release. “We are pleased to support this community and help create an environment where all people have the opportunity to live artful lives.”

In 2015, ESYO launched CHIME in Schenectady to address fundamental inequities preventing universal access to high-level music opportunities for young people. Today, this free music program serves more than 140 Schenectady students. Amplify Our Voice (AOV) is a collective composition project that offers youth an outlet to process emotion, explore shared experiences, and “amplify” their artistic voice to the world.

In addition to the NEA award, ESYO’s CHIME has received a $50,000 grant from the Rea Charitable Trust, marking the Trust’s sixth year of funding; $10,000 from the Review Foundation; $5,000 from the John D. Picotte Family Foundation; $2,500 from the D’Addario Foundation; and another $20,000 from the William Gundry Broughton Foundation. All donations ensure that CHIME students are able to take advantage of opportunities available to them and that they have the tools to help them succeed.

ESYO was also awarded $40,000 for general operations from the New York State Council on the Arts and $10,000 from the Alfred Z. Solomon Charitable Trust to fund scholarships for students with financial need.

“We are so grateful for the continued support from so many outstanding charitable organizations in our community and beyond. It is a privilege to have their trust, and to be able to expend their resources in support of our young musicians,” said ESYO’s Executive Director, Becky Calos, in a press release. “Their support expands access to incredible musical experiences for hundreds of young people, and empowers them to explore their talents in an enriching environment.”

Throughout the year, CHIME youth create an original, multi-level composition through reflection, improvisation, and experimentation with guest artists. This year, the composition includes Horacio Fernandez and AOV 2024 will premiere on May 17, at Mont Pleasant Middle School.

The Youth Orchestra will also be holding concerts on Feb. 14 and Feb. 15. For more information on the ESYO or the concerts, visit ESYO’s official website.

Rafael Torres
Rafael Torres
Rafael Torres, a native of Schenectady, has returned to his hometown after several years of reporting in the Midwest. A graduate of Missouri School of Journalism, Alex is known for his empathetic approach to local news, covering everything from community events to local governance, always with an aim to bridge diverse perspectives.
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  1. Good punctuation and grammar. Agree.

    That’s fantastic news! The Empire State Youth Orchestra truly deserves this funding for their outstanding contributions to music education. Bravo to all involved!


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