Westchester Community College will be closed and all activities cancelled until further notice.

March 29, 2020 Update:

Dear GWYOA Families,

Please read the following Covid-19 update from the board of GWYOA:

  • The GWYOA board has been meeting every Monday evening by phone, and continues to monitor COVID-19 developments in the hope of allowing for a concert in late June.
  • Still, any determination to begin rehearsing again will be made based on the actions allowed by government and health officials. In addition, the GWYOA board may determine that our actions should be even more conservative than those allowed by public officials.
  • As of now, we have tentatively booked Lincoln Center for June 21. That said, still-unknown events in advance of that date will drive our ability to rehearse for such a concert and therefore our decision to perform (or not).
  • Any concert after late June is not likely as summer will have started. We are also mindful of graduation dates in late June for our seniors, though we assume those dates may also change.
  • We will stay in touch with all GWYOA families as events warrant and appreciate your patience during this unprecedented time.

Please stay safe and healthy!!

The GWYOA Board of Directors

Related Links:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/

New York State Department of Health: https://www.ny.gov/agencies/department-health

Westchester County Department of Health: https://health.westchestergov.com/

WCC’s Coronavirus Preparedness: https://www.sunywcc.edu/news/coronavirus-preparedness/


The Westchester Youth Symphony

(Musicians in grades 9-12)

is currently seeking musicians who play:



To arrange an audition, please contact:

Richard Cuneo or Kristine Fenton

Richard.Cuneo@GWYOA.org KristineFenton@GWYOA.org

Our primary communication with members during the season will be through email. Please make sure you have registered under your primary email address and check to make sure email communication from gwyoa.org and Active Network are not being directed to your Junk or Spam folder. Click for Active Online Account portal

Please follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gwyoa/

2019-2020 GWYOA Schedule

(click for printable PDF)

Detailed Information available on Member Info pages:


September 9 - Rehearsal #1

September 16* - Rehearsal #2

September 23 - Rehearsal #3

September 30 - No rehearsal: Rosh Hashanah

October 7** - Rehearsal #4

October 14 - Rehearsal #5 (Columbus Day)

Sunday, October 20 - Elementary Strings Sectional Rehearsal, 1:15 - 2:30 PM, 2:45 - 4:00 PM

October 21* - Rehearsal #6

October 28 - Rehearsal #7

November 4** - Rehearsal #8

November 11 - Rehearsal #9: (Veteran's Day)

November 18* - Rehearsal #10

November 25 - Rehearsal #11 - also Junior Strings Sectional Rehearsal

December 2** - Rehearsal #12

Tuesday, December 3 - Elementary Strings Crowne Plaza Concert

December 9* - Rehearsal #13

Thursday, December 12 - Elementary Strings Fall Concert Tour (snow date Dec. 13)

Thursday, December 12 - Junior Strings Fall Concert

Sunday, December 15 (snow date Dec. 16) - GWYOA Winter Concert at WCC (recorded), 1:30 PM


January 6* - Rehearsal #14

January 13 - Rehearsal #15

Monday, January 13, 7:00 pm (snow Jan. 27) - Lewis-Lionti Sonata Concert (Youth Symphony performing, all welcome to attend)

January 20 - No rehearsal: Martin Luther King Day

January 27** - Rehearsal #16

February 3 - Rehearsal #17

Sunday, February 9 (snow date Mar. 1) - Elementary Strings Sectional Rehearsal

February 10* - Rehearsal #18

February 17 - No rehearsal: President’s Day

February 24** - Rehearsal #19

March 2 - Rehearsal #20

March 9* - Rehearsal #21 CANCELLED

March 16 - Rehearsal #22 CANCELLED

Monday, March 16 - Special rehearsal and sectionals for Junior Strings members, 6:30 - 8:45 pm CANCELLED

March 23 - Rehearsal #23 CANCELLED

March 30** - Rehearsal #24 CANCELLED

April 6 - No rehearsal: Spring Break

April 13* - Rehearsal #25

April 20** - Rehearsal #26, Recordings:

ES report at 6:15, record 6:30 -7:15

JS report at 6:20, record 7:15 - 8:15

YS report to top floor at 7:45, record 8:15 - 9:15

Thursday, April 23 - Junior Strings Spring Concert, 6:00 pm

Saturday, May 2 - Auditions

Monday, May 4 - Auditions

May 11*

Friday, April 24 - Elementary Strings Spring Concert Tour

Note that the Up-County NYSSMA Solo/Ensemble Festival will be Friday afternoon and evening, and Saturday, April 25. If you plan on participating in that NYSSMA Festival, please request Saturday, April 25. Our tour will last a full day, and our musicians will need to be rested.

Sunday, June 21 - Spring Gala Concert at David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center, NYC

___________________________________* Board meeting** Parent/Guardian Committee

Inclement Weather Policy

GWYOA follows the Westchester Community College decisions for bad weather closures. Please check the WCC website (http://www.sunywcc.edu), call the WCC Information number at 914-606-6900, or contact your conductor/parent liaisons when in doubt. Should a rehearsal be cancelled for weather, we will notify you by email. Please make sure we always have your current email address.

All-GWYOA Concerts

Spring Gala Concert:

Sunday, June 21, 2020, at David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center, NYC. Tickets are available for purchase through Lincoln Center’s box office a few weeks before the concert. Seating is general admission, although you will be asked to choose seats when purchasing tickets. Student BUS transportation from WCC to Lincoln Center is provided - and is REQUIRED. Transportation home from Lincoln Center is NOT provided.

Orchestra-Specific Events

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.


Lewis-Lionti Sonata Concert

Monday, January 13, 2020

(snow date Jan. 27)

VENUE: Westchester Community College's, Hankin Academic Arts Building Auditorium (map).

PARKING: The nearest parking lot to the venue is Lot #4 (same as rehearsals), but you must climb a hill to get to the Auditorium entrance, which may be difficult for some of our grandparents. Please see the overhead map and instructions for Handicap drop off route. Musicians and Guests proceed up the hill towards the regular rehearsal room, Musicians (and Guests that need to use the elevator) head left towards building side entrance, Guests continue up the hill to Auditorium entrance.

TICKETS: No admission charge. Seating is general admission.

April 20, 2020 - Recordings

ES report at 6:15 pm to regular rehearsal room, record 6:30 -7:15, return to rehearsal room and rehearse until 8:15 pm

JS report at 6:20 pm to regular rehearsal room, record 7:15 - 8:15

YS report to 3rd floor at 7:45 pm, record 8:15 - 9:15