Orchestra students hope to secure their spot at the next level


Michael Martin

Practicing GDYO excerpts during advisory, sophomore GDYO violinist prepares for the annual audition in the program that determines orchestra placement.

Grant Milleson, Guest Contributor

Rehearsing for a concert or UIL is one thing, but numerous Redhawks are hoping for a shot at the Grand Dallas Youth Orchestra when auditions begin on March 13. 

“The program cultivates learning and creativity, as well as, social and motivational skills,” associate band director Zachary Anderson said. “GDYO musicians socialize with a diverse group of highly talented peers from over 50 communities in the Metroplex, as well as interacting with professionals from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Wind Symphony and multiple other local music ensembles.”

GDYO was founded as a single orchestra in 1972 by a group of parents, educators and musicians who valued music education and the outcomes it can provide.

“I’ve actually been in GDYO for the past seven years but the reason I initially wanted to join was to have experience in a full orchestra and play the literature they prepare,” sophomore Julia Johnson said. “To prepare I’ve been working on a solo for a month or so and now that the excerpts have been released, I’ve been starting those and spending time each day on them.”

For the audition students are required to play two of their scales and the excerpt that has been chosen by the judges.

“So how it normally works is GDYO gives you excerpts and you also play your solo and 2 scales of your choice. audition music came out this past week and thankfully the music was the same as last year so I’m just re-going over all of the excerpts and practicing my solo and scales,” junior Olivia O’Brien said. “I’m first piccolo in the flute choir right now so next year I plan to be piccolo player for one of the higher groups”

The group consists of 450 musicians, performing in two full orchestras, three string orchestras, a wind ensemble, a flute choir, and six jazz combos in the Jazz Institute.

“If students get selected to participate, they get to work with some of the best music educators in the world! They get to perform professional literature and make music with the top musicians in the DFW area,” Anderson said. “Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra’s mission is to provide music education and performance opportunities for youth with demonstrated musical ability.”

The group has gone on tours around Europe, has holiday concerts, and one student picked by judges will have the opportunity to do solo with the GDYO during the March concert and is featured on the concert poster and other advertisements.

“I’m in GDYO because I really enjoy playing flute and I like being in a group where people share the same passions and interests as me,” O’Brien said. “Being in GDYO is helpful to me because I want to major in music when I graduate and I want to eventually play in a professional orchestra. I think it is very helpful for anyone who wants that extra step in the music world, as the rigorous audition process and the rigor of the orchestras in general really prepare you for the future of the music world.”