Through the ages, SAPPHIRES have been treasured for their sparkle, romance and beauty. The Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra (GDYO) glittered with brilliance at the SAPPHIRE Anniversary’s Spring Gala and Season Finale celebrating 45 years in the community. It was held on May 21, 2017 at the Meyerson Symphony Center and is the only fundraising event for the youth orchestra.
The shimmering Gala included a silent auction and buffet dinner with music featuring performers from the GDYO Jazz Institute. It was followed by a full concert of the top ensemble featuring guest violinist Chee-Yun, and ended with post-concert desserts.
Venise Stuart was extremely proud and honored to be chairing the Gala.
“The young talent the metroplex has is amazing,” said Venise. “It takes a true passion and commitment from everyone involved to deliver the amazing experience you will have this evening. The GDYO is a hidden gem in the city and these young musicians soar under the direction of Maestro Rick Giangiulio.”
Honorary Chairs were Cynthia and Brice Beaird, longtime supporters of the Dallas community. Cynthia is a founding Partner/Executive VP with Allie Beth Allman and Associates. Brice is the owner of the Beaird Agency, Inc. and also a singer/songwriter.
GDYO provides DFW’s most talented young musicians high quality instruction, challenging repertoire and the opportunity to come together and perform at world class venues like the Meyerson Symphony Center. It was founded in 1972 by parents, educators, and members of the Dallas music community to provide music education and performance opportunities for youth with demonstrated musical ability. The program includes over 450 talented musicians, ages 8 to 18, performing in two full orchestras, three string orchestras, a wind ensemble, a flute choir, and eight jazz combos, and socializing with a diverse group of highly talented peers from more than 50 communities.
“Many GDYO alums continue to study music at schools like Julliard, Cleveland Conservatory and others,” said board member Sherwood Wagner. “Regardless of the path they choose for their career, the students have the discipline to be successful at whatever endeavor they choose."
There are a few notable alumni of the orchestra. Cathy Hernandez, the Executive Director of GDYO, has come full circle by having been a musician with the orchestra and now many years later, she heads the organization. Another familiar alumna from the program is Denise McGovern who is currently Vice President of Communications at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
The proceeds from the evening will benefit the GDYO Scholarship Fund and the GDYO Tour Fund, allowing deserving students a chance to not only experience the GDYO Program, but to be further enriched by experiencing new cultures while traveling and preforming with their peers. Each year, young musicians in GDYO receive $20,000 in scholarships, and that number doubles in a tour year.
For more information: www.gdyo.org
Photos by Chuck Clark