2021 Schedule

In case of a last minute change to the schedule, it is extremely important that we have your current contact information. Updates may be sent to Parent Liaisons of your child's orchestra.

Monday, February 8

Monday, February 15 (President's Day)

Monday, February 22

Monday, March 1

Monday, March 8

Monday, March 15

Monday, March 22

[No rehearsal 3/29 due to Spring Break and Passover]

Monday, April 5 (note: Easter Monday)

Monday, April 12

Monday, April 19

Monday, April 26

Monday, May 3

Monday, May 10

Monday, May 17

Monday, May 24 (note: last rehearsal)

[Monday, May 31 is Memorial Day]

Spring Showcase

Saturday, June 5, 2021

We are planning to have a culminating GWYOA Spring Showcase under the covered outdoor space of the Venetian Theater, at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, in Katonah, NY.


Through these difficult times, the GWYOA is continuing to be dedicated to the development of young people's musicianship through rehearsing and performing together. We aim to provide an excellent grounding in cooperation, help young people develop self-esteem, and promote harmony in our ethnically diverse community through classical music training.


Please remember to fill out Covid pre-screening forms before arriving. Email liaisons for link.

Don't forget your music, chair and stand, and to dress really warmly! If you are scheduled for an in-person rehearsal but cannot attend, kindly send a quick email in advance to your conductor or liaisons.

For Zoom attendees, please contact your conductor or liaisons for meeting link.

Rehearsal Times

Elementary Strings: Arrival, check-in and setup: 4:30 pm - 4:50 pm / Rehearsal: 4:50 pm – 6:30 pm

Junior Strings: Arrival, check-in and setup: 4:30 pm - 4:50 pm / Rehearsal: 4:50 pm – 6:30 pm

Youth Symphony: Arrival, check-in and setup: 6:50 pm - 7:00 pm / Rehearsal: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Rehearsal Location

Rehearsals will be held at St. Gregory the Enlightener Armenian Church: 1131 North St., White Plains, NY 10605

Overhead Map: https://www.gwyoa.org/home/st-gregory

Google map: https://goo.gl/maps/xw9MTEMCWDdy5PHP7


Full tuition for the 2020-2021 season: Elementary Strings: $515, Junior Strings: $555, Youth Symphony: $580

Families with multiple children in the GWYOA are entitled to a 10% tuition reduction off of each child's tuition (Sibling Discount).

Refund policy for In-person/remote hybrid musicians: 100% refund before the 1st rehearsal*; 75% refund after 1st rehearsal*; 50% after 2nd rehearsal*; 25% after 3rd rehearsal*; no refund after 4th rehearsal. In the event of a mandated complete shutdown of our season due to Covid-19, a pro-rated refund will be offered*.

Refund policy for Remote only musicians: 100% refund before the 3rd rehearsal*; 75% refund after 4th rehearsal*; 50% after 5th rehearsal*; 25% after 6th rehearsal*; no refund after 7th rehearsal. In the event of a mandated complete shutdown of our season due to Covid-19, a pro-rated refund will be offered*.

* minus $50 processing fee

COVID-19 Guidelines and Procedures

Please click on the link below to view Guidelines and Procedures that the GWYOA has adopted in response to COVID-19.

COVID-19 Guidelines and Procedures - Greater Westchester Youth Orchestras Association (GWYOA)

Remote Instruction

A Zoom link will be emailed to ALL musicians each week, for musicians that are scheduled to be remote, and for musicians that may have a conflict on the day of a scheduled in-person rehearsal. The conductor will initially focus their instruction on both the remote and in-person musicians for the first 20-30 minutes of the rehearsal. Additional instruction with YouTube or similar video examples may be sent for follow-up study.

Music Distribution

Elementary Strings and Junior Strings musicians will receive folders containing their music parts for the entire season, upon their first in-person rehearsal.

Youth Symphony musicians will be sent a link to download their music. Please print your designated part and bring to rehearsals.

Remote musicians will be sent a link to download and print their music.

Additional In-person Requirements

Music Stand and Chair: Musicians will be required to bring their own music stand and chair to rehearsals. St. Gregory has recently installed new wood flooring in the rehearsal spaces. The GWYOA will be responsible for any damage caused by our use of the venue. Chairs must have non-scratch leg bottoms (plastic, rubber or felt protective bottom). Chairs with metal leg bottoms must use a protective cap like these:



Cello and Bass Rubber Tips and Rock Stops: Cello and bass musicians will also be required to have rubber tips installed on both their end pin and rock stop.

About the GWYOA

The Greater Westchester Youth Orchestras Association is dedicated to the development of young people’s musicianship through rehearsing and performing together.

The GWYOA is a not-for-profit organization providing excellent grounding in cooperation, helping young people to develop self- esteem, and promoting harmony in our ethnically diverse community through classical music training. Founded in 1953, the GWYOA consists of three orchestras made up of students in grades four through twelve from Westchester County, NY, and from the surrounding counties in the Tri-State area, working in cooperation with the Westchester Community College in Valhalla, NY. All three of the orchestras perform Winter and Spring Concerts each year.

History of the GWYOA

Mr. Harry Alshin, a string teacher in the Scarsdale school system, sowed the seeds for the GWYOA in 1955. Mr. Alshin first organized and conducted a countywide orchestra for junior high school students, preparing the young participants for the first youth orchestra which was established 2 years later.

The Westchester Youth Symphony, a high school age group, has had only 5 conductors since its inception. The longest tenure is held to date by Victor Lionti who took over the baton in 1970 and maintained it for 25 years. The current conductor, his son, Vincent Lionti, played viola with the GWYOA from the age of 12 through high school. He conducted the Westchester Junior Strings from 1990 until 1996 when he followed in his fathers footsteps and moved onto leading the Westchester Youth Symphony.

Maestro Alshin, the founder of the Westchester Junior Strings remained with that group until he retired in the 1980’s. Dale Lewis was the next conductor until Vincent Lionti came on board in 1990. The Westchester Elementary Strings was organized in 1983 and was first conducted by Jacqueline Stern. She moved onto the Westchester Junior Strings in 1996. It was at that time that Bernard Klinger joined the GWYOA as the conductor of the Westchester Elementary Strings.

During the early years, GWYOA was sponsored by Westchester County and rehearsals were held in the basement of the County Center. There was also a 6 week sleep away summer camp co-sponsored by the GWYOA and the county at Croton Point. Now, GWYOA works in cooperation with the Westchester Community College in Valhalla, NY, where weekly rehearsals are held.

Performance Venues

The GWYOA orchestras perform in a wide range of venues. In the past they have been honored to perform at:

  • Carnegie Hall

  • David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center

  • Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center

  • Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center

  • Ellis Island

  • Kennedy Center

  • SUNY Purchase Performing Arts Center

  • Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital

  • MENC Eastern Division Conference

  • NYSSMA State Conferences

  • White Plains Performing Arts Center

  • 1976 Bicentennial celebration in Philadelphia

Various local nursing homes, elementary and middle schools.

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