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Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras’ Alumni Concert celebrates Music Director Christopher Hisey

May 28, 2019

Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras will present an Alumni Concert featuring GBYO Alumni from the past 45 years and as recent as last year’s graduates on Sunday, June 2, at 2 p.m. at the Arnold Bernhard Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Bridgeport. The concert is free, but donations are appreciated.

The Alumni Concert is a celebration of the 10th anniversary season of Music Director Christopher Hisey, who also conducts GBYO’s Principal Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra. Hisey is himself an alumnus of GBYO. He joined GBYO when he was 11 years old and was Principal Violist of Principal Orchestra for several years. His affiliation with GBYO spans over 30 years and he is excited to welcome back other alumni.

Several alumni will be featured in the concert, which will include music by Mozart, Bach, Bizet and others. Barb Upton, GBYO’s longtime Executive Director and also a soprano, will open the concert with the National Anthem. Matt Scinto, conductor of the Cape Cod Chamber Orchestra, will guest conduct, and Thomas Valenti, Principal Clarinetist who graduated in 2018, will perform Mozart’s Un’aura Amorosa from “Cosi Fan Tutte” as a tenor. In addition to playing in GBYO’s advanced Chamber Orchestra, Valenti was an All-State singer and now attends the Frost School of Music at University of Miami, pursuing a degree in vocal performance.

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GBYO has provided advanced music education and performance opportunities to exceptionally motivated young musicians since 1961. The GBYO program is developmentally progressive, with nine ensembles, including five orchestras, giving students the opportunity to play at the highest level, both individually and collectively. The study and performance of great music in an ensemble setting can be a transformative experience for young musicians and the skills they learn as part of a GBYO ensemble — teamwork, perseverance and responsibility — carry over into all areas of their lives.

GBYO members in grades 5-12 are selected by audition in June, August, and throughout the year, coming from more than 30 different communities in Connecticut. Rehearsals are held on weekends in Fairfield and at least three concerts per year are performed at the Klein Auditorium in Bridgeport. Special concerts and trips offer student musicians additional performance opportunities. Select GBYO orchestras have performed at Carnegie Hall, and have traveled to China, Italy, and most recently, Iceland and Scotland.

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