DC Youth Orchestra Program

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The DC Youth Orchestra Program (DCYOP) is an American instrumental music education program in Washington, D.C. Although it is well known for its Youth Orchestra ensemble, the DCYOP is based on a 12-level, curriculum-based (K-12) music education program that provides instrumental music classes for students throughout the Washington, D.C. area during out-of-school-time hours. The DCYOP is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization chartered in Washington, D.C. It is also a member of the League of American Orchestras, Americans for the Arts, and the United Way of the National Capital Area.

The program was founded in 1960 by Lyn McLain. In the summer of 2010, the entire operation was relocated from Coolidge High School, where the program had been housed since 1960, to the newly remodeled Eastern High School. With almost 800 students served annually and offering 17 times more classes than any other DC-area youth orchestra organizations, the DC Youth Orchestra Program is a leading music education resource for the region.

The most advanced orchestra, simply known as the Youth Orchestra, has toured in more than nineteen countries and played for multiple U.S. Presidents. Youth Orchestra students performed in the 2009 Easter Egg Roll, 2009 Holiday Reception, and 2010 Easter Egg Roll at the White House, and for every presidential administration since 1960. In November 2009, the students in the program also performed for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Ecumenical Patriarch at the State Department building in Washington, DC. In the fall of 2011, the organization reinstituted its touring program, with a domestic Eastern Seaboard tour that included Baltimore and Philadelphia, working with esteemed musicians from the Philadelphia Orchestra. In 2014, the program announced its plan to tour in the summer of 2014 to Colombia, in South America.

The DCYOP's priority is to provide access to instrumental music education and orchestral training for all students in the D.C. area, regardless of socioeconomic status, prior experience, or ability to pay for services.

Timeline of organization[edit]

2014 - DCYOP begins raising funds to support a tour to Colombia in the summer of 2014.

2014 - Spring, DCYOP announces hiring of Evan Solomon as Director of Education; Claudine Nash leaves the program after decades of dedicated service, after having served faithfully as String Bass faculty member, Interim Director of Education, Summer Strings Camp Director, and Interim Executive Director.

2013 - Fall, DCYOP announces the hiring of Liz Schurgin as the organization's new executive director.

2012 - Summer, DCYOP hires Joshua Simonds as executive director.

2012 – February, Youth Orchestra Performs at the National Cathedral for the Annual HS Choir Festival, sponsored by the Cathedral Choral Society and under the direction of Benjamin Hutto.

2011– November, Youth Orchestra tours Baltimore and Philadelphia, performs in a side-by-side with the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra. They performed Dvorak's "New World Symphony", The Overture of Wagner's famous opera, "Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg", and the Waltz from Tchaikovsky's ballet "The Sleeping Beauty"

2011– October, Youth Orchestra performs in Mutual Inspirations Festival, part of Kids Eurofest 2011, sponsored by the Czech Embassy. John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

2011– September, Youth Orchestra string students perform at ceremonies commemorating the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 at the Smithsonian American History Museum.

2011– September, Orchestra Day students prepare a concert in one day and perform for friends and family. Music from Halo!

2011– July, intermediate violinists perform at the Crossroads Farmers' Market.

2011– July, DCYOP summer camp students march in the Capitol Hill Fourth of July Parade in Washington, DC. Students also participated in the organization's first-ever, all-day summer music camp. The summer was an intense and highly successful educational experience for the children enrolled.

2011– March, Youth Orchestra Performs "Pictures at an Exhibition" and holds a drawing contest. Students in grades 3-5 from DC Public Schools submit drawings about the composition. Drawings are displayed in overhead projection at the performance at THEARC in SE DC in a multimedia audience experience.

2011 – February, Youth Orchestra Performs at the National Cathedral for the Annual HS Choir Festival, sponsored by the Cathedral Choral Society and under the direction of Benjamin Hutto.

2010 – December, Messiah Sing-Along with the Youth Orchestra performed at the Kennedy Center.

2010 - November, Youth Orchestra performs at the Kennedy Center in a collaborative project with the Organization of American States called From the Barrio to the Concert Hall. From the Barrio to the Concert Hall is the product of a joint effort between the Hey Mozart! Program, the OAS’ Orchestra Program for Youth at Risk in the Caribbean, youth orchestra programs in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico, and the DC Youth Orchestra Program.

2010 - September, DCYOP begins season at new location. The program moved in August 2010, for the first time since its inception in 1960, to Eastern HS. Still in Washington DC.

2010 – August, DCYOP celebrates 50 years of providing high-quality music education to the youth of the DC area. Celebratory concert at the Kennedy Center on August 21, 2010. Including orchestra composed of alumni from the program - concert free and open to the public, Kennedy Center concert hall, 6:00 p.m.. Marvin Hamlisch hosting. World premiere of 2010 work by Emmy winner and alumnus of the program, John Wineglass.

2010 – June, DC Youth Orchestra Program announces that it will be moving to the newly remodeled Eastern Senior High School beginning in the fall of 2010. The relocation is a long awaited change - announcement of quest for a new location announced in 2005.

2010 – June, Intermediate Violin students perform the National Anthem at the Mystics Game at the Verizon Center. Dr. Sheila Johnson performs with the students.

2010 – April, Youth Orchestra performs at the White House for the Annual Easter Egg Roll.

2010 – February, Youth Orchestra Performs at the National Cathedral for the Annual HS Choir Festival, sponsored by the Cathedral Choral Society and under the direction of Benjamin Hutto.

2009 – December, Flute Choir performs at the White House for a holiday reception

2009 – November, Youth Orchestra students perform Mozart Opera at the Austrian Embassy as part of the Kids Euro Festival with singers from DC's own Embassy Series

2009 – November, Youth Orchestra students perform at the US Department of State, for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Ecumenical Patriarch at a state dinner. Secretary Clinton breaks protocol to come over and congratulate the students

2009 – October, Maestro Lorin Maazel visits the DCYOP and conducts a rehearsal with the most advanced ensemble, the Youth Orchestra. The rehearsal was open to parents, students, and the general public and the event drew approximately 750 audience members.

2009 – August, students from the Youth Orchestra participate in a side-by-side performance with the Youth Orchestra of the Americas at the Organization of American States.

2009 – July, Intermediate violin students from the program perform the National Anthem at the Washington Mystics v. L.A. Sparks WNBA game

2009 – June, Metro Herald feature article, front page/center, about the DC Youth Orchestra Program

2009 – June, Hill Rag feature article about the DC Youth Orchestra Program

2009 – May, DCYOP subject of feature story on NPR All Things Considered

2009 – April, Youth Orchestra of the DCYOP performs at the President Barack Obama's Administration’s first Easter Egg Roll. The organization is mentioned on Good Morning America, WTOP, WAMU, and in The Washington Post

2009 – March, Students from the DCYOP perform at the reception for the Mayor’s Arts Awards

2009 – March, Students from the DC Youth Orchestra Program perform at the Arts Council of the National Endowment for the Arts. Executive Director Ava Spece gives a speech to the Council

2008 – August, Students from the DCYOP perform for Vice President (then Senator) Joe Biden

2008 – August, Washington area Bloomingdale's stores honor the DCYOP as their Charity of Choice for 2008

2008 – June, the Youth Orchestra performs final concert of the season at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

2008 – May, the DC City Council members vote to include the DC Youth Orchestra Program in the FY09 City Budget for the first time in the organization’s history

2008 – May, Intermediate violin students of the DCYOP perform the National Anthem at the Washington Mystics v. L.A. Sparks WNBA game

2008 – May, DCYOP named “one of the best small nonprofits in the Greater Washington region” by the Catalogue for Philanthropy – inclusion in the 2008-09 Catalogue

2008 – January, DC Commission on Arts and Humanities awards the Upstart Grant to the DC Youth Orchestra Program

2007 – November, the Youth Orchestra Performs at Kennedy Center.

2007 - Alumni Orchestra Concert and Celebration at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Concert Hall, on July 8, 2007

2006 – Founder and President of the Board, Lyn McLain, announces his retirement from the board of directors

2006 – Founder Lyn McLain announces that he is stepping down from the podium for health reasons

2005 – DCYOP announces that they are seeking a new facility for classes and rehearsals

2005 – Guest conducting appearance by Mr. Marvin Hamlisch, at the December holiday concert at the Kennedy Center, 1000s in attendance

2005 – Student perform at the White House for Helping America’s Youth Conference reception and for First Lady Laura Bush

2005 – DCYOP celebrates 45th Anniversary

2005 – DCYOP unveils new logo and website

2004 – Students perform at the Coming Up Taller Awards event in DC

2004 – Benefit Concert sponsored by the Organization of American States

2004 – DCYOP hires first Executive Director, Ava Spece

2003 – International tour to Japan

2003 – Mayor’s Arts Award, Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education, presented to DCYOP by the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities

2002 – Takao Kanayama hired as conductor for the Youth Orchestra

2002 – International tour to South Africa

2002 – Coming Up Taller award presented to the DCYOP by Laura Bush

1999 – International tour to Austria and Germany

1999 – Exemplary Award given to the DCYOP by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention

1998 – DCYOP receives award in recognition of outstanding performance at the Martin Luther King Jr. Observance, in Fort Monmouth, NJ from the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command

1997 – DCYOP nominated one of 28 organizations to receive the Merrow Report award Searching for Heroes

1996 – International tour to Netherlands and Belgium

1994 – International tour to Netherlands, France and Belgium

1992 – International tour to Spain

1992 – DCYOP receives Outstanding Instrumental Program award at the Heritage Music Festival in Toronto, Canada

1992 – DCYOP receives Adjudicator Award at the Heritage Music Festival in Toronto, Canada

1990 – First Youth Orchestra ever showcased at an American Symphony Orchestra League Conference, 45th annual conference

1989 – International tour to Spain

1988 – International tour to Puerto Rico, Russia, and Estonia

1987 – Lyn McLain given Washingtonian of the Year award, Washington, DC

1987 – Mayor’s Arts Award, Excellence in Service to the Arts, presented to DCYOP by the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities

1987 – Plaque of Appreciation awarded by the Korean Cultural Foundation, Inc., and the Sun Hwa Arts and High School

1987 – International tour to Puerto Rico and South Korea

1986 – International tour to China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan

1985 – Lyn McLain receives Outstanding Community Service award from the National Guard of the District of Columbia

1984 – International tour to Puerto Rico

1983 – The Hotel Association of Washington DC honors the DC Youth Orchestra Program for outstanding contributions to the city of Washington

1982 – Mayor Marion Barry Proclaims October 19, “D.C. Youth Orchestra Day” in the City of Washington

1981 – International tour to Greece and Yugoslavia

1978 – International tour to Japan and participated in the National Youth Orchestra festival of Japan as guests of Setsuo Tskahara and premiered Tskahara’s symphony

1978 – Orchestra performs for the Carter administration, on the White House lawn with the Tokyo Junior Philharmonic

1974 – International tour to Scotland and London, including participation in the International Youth Orchestra Festival

1972 – International tour to Germany, including participation in the Von Karajan Festival in Berlin

1971 – Orchestra performs for First Lady Patricia Nixon and other dignitaries on the White House lawn

1971 – First Youth Orchestra to perform at the new John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

1970 – DCYOP receives Mayor’s Commendation from Mayor Walter E. Washington, for Outstanding Performance and Exceptional Achievement and for Bringing Honor to the People and City of Washington DC

1970 – Youth Orchestra performs at the Music Educators’ National Convention (MENC) in Pittsburg, PA.

1970 – DCYOP’s first international tour, Switzerland

1968 – Lily Guest, President of the Friends of the Kennedy Center and Walter Anderson, Head of the Music Department of the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) work to prepare for the DCYOP’s first tour

1967 – DCYOP holds significant fundraising event chaired by the Secretary of State David Rusk

1967 – Youth Orchestra performs for First Lady Lady Bird Johnson and other dignitaries on the White House lawn

1964 – DCYOP receives Outstanding Performance award from the Eastern convention of the MENC

1964 – Orchestra performs in Pittsburgh for the Eastern convention of the MENC (Music Educator’s Association)

1962 – Orchestra performs for First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and other dignitaries on the White House lawn

1961 – First season begins at Calvin Coolidge Senior High School in NW DC

1961 – Spring, first concert by the DCYOP

1960 – First orchestra meets at Roosevelt High School

1960 – DCYOP is founded by Lyn McLain at the request of DC Public Schools, with a handful of teachers and 60 students

External links[edit]

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