Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra To Host 50th Anniversary Gala

Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra (GDYO) will host its 50th anniversary Gala, “Journey To The Stars,” on May 15  at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center.

Chaired by Jennifer O’Brien with Topgolf CEO Artie Starrs (and GDYO alum) serving as honorary chair, the gala will celebrate GDYO’s five decades of cultivating North Texas’ youth musicians and launch the organization into the future. The annual gala and season finale performance is the sole fundraising event for GDYO. The funds raised at this event contribute to the organization’s ability to provide services and musical opportunities for the youth in Dallas and North Texas.

“There is no doubt that the arts are the bedrock for our youth during their most formative years, and GDYO is proud to continue to develop and cultivate some of North Texas’ most talented youth musicians,” said Cathy Hernandez, Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra executive director and GDYO alumna. “GDYO has produced thousands of extremely accomplished alumni who are now thriving in a variety of fields around the world, from music to medicine to technology to business and more. This Gala is a celebration of the men and women who built GDYO over the past 50 years, and the youth who will come through our doors over the next 50 years.”

The gala will support GDYO in its current season of growth, now serving over 2,000 young musicians through nine ensembles. It also provides subsidized music programming within underserved Dallas ISD schools through GDYO’s Music Capacity Building Program. The program places GDYO’s top talent in more than 20 Dallas ISD schools. 

Through this program, GDYO has been able to impact the lives of more than 4,000 students participating in Dallas ISD music programs. The organization now conducts Dallas ISD’s All City Band and Dallas ISD’s All City Orchestra, at the District’s request. GDYO also produced its first summer camp with Dallas ISD in sumer 2021, providing a free, virtual camp for 50 youth string musicians.

“It is an honor to serve as GDYO’s 50th anniversary Gala Chair,” said Jennifer O’Brien, Journey To The Stars Gala chair. “GDYO is a truly unique, exemplary organization in North Texas that is not only changing the lives of thousands of youth, but is changing the face of music in our city.”

GDYO provides musical opportunities for young musicians from 50 different communities and more than 120 different schools. GDYO was founded in 1972 by a group of parents, educators and musicians who valued music education and the outcomes it could provide.

 Since its founding, the organization has impacted the lives of more than 10,000 North Texas youth musicians. GDYO cultivates learning and creativity, as well as social and motivational skills in currently more than 465 talented young musicians, performing in nine ensembles. GDYO musicians also interact with professionals from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Wind Symphony, and multiple other local music ensembles. GDYO is one of the leading youth orchestra feeders for the National Youth Orchestra.

“As a GDYO alumnus myself, I can personally speak to the incredible impact GDYO has on so many talented children in North Texas,” said Artie Starrs, Journey To The Stars Gala Honorary Chair and Topgolf CEO. “I learned so many invaluable lessons and skills during my time at GDYO. Through this Gala, it is my hope that we can raise awareness and resources to continue GDYO’s legacy for many more decades to come.”

For more information about the gala, visit Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra’s website.

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