Orchestras & Programs

The Green Mountain Youth Symphony offers musical instruction at the highest level to students of all orchestral instruments and skill levels, ages six to eighteen. All three orchestras rehearse once a week on Saturdays during the school year and perform several times during the year.


Repertory Orchestra

The Repertory Orchestra introduces the youngest and newest musicians to ensemble playing. Participants include beginning string and wind players who have been playing their instruments for as little as one year and are as young as six years old. Conductor Paul Perley teaches them to listen to each other, play together rhythmically, and play in tune. His goal is to prepare them to join the intermediate Concert Orchestra by imparting a basic knowledge of orchestral terms and an understanding of how to follow a conductor. Repertory Orchestra rehearses for 1 hour on Saturday mornings. Check the calendar on our home page for details.


Concert Orchestra

The Concert Orchestra is a full orchestra for intermediate students of all orchestral instruments, and is conducted by Artistic Director Robert Blais. This orchestra performs original concert repertoire aimed at the middle school to high school level, or arrangements of established concert pieces that are accessible to non-professional, or student, musicians. Members of the Concert Orchestra still require assistance to learn their parts, and Blais works with them to help them gain the musical tools they will need to advance to the next level of playing, such as sight-reading, tuning, rhythm, and effective practice skills. Concert Orchestra rehearses for 1 3/4 hours on Saturday mornings. Check the calendar on our home page for details.


Senior Orchestra

The Senior Orchestra is made up of more than forty of the most advanced young musicians who have demonstrated through auditions the ability to learn difficult music. The Senior Orchestra plays professional level concert literature, such as Dvorak’s New World Symphony and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2, and performs a full concert program at the end of each semester, as well as at major community venues and events. Blais approaches Senior Orchestra members as professional musicians and imparts an understanding of what it is like to play with a professional orchestra. Members exercise greater autonomy as musicians and are responsible for learning their parts on their own. In rehearsals, they work on artistry, ensemble playing, and creating a beautiful sound. Senior Orchestra rehearses for 3 hours on Saturdays. Check the calendar on our home page for details.


Summer Programs: GMYS CAMP

The Green Mountain Youth Symphony has held a residency week at Northern Vermont University-Johnson since 2006. It has become an integral part of our program for our intermediate to advanced musicians and many of our students tell us it’s the highlight of their musical year!

Intermediate - Advanced student musicians of all orchestral instruments are invited to apply. Acceptance is by audition only. Please contact us set up an audition or for more information. You can also download :

CAMP Application | CAMP Poster


The 2019 GMYS C.A.M.P. will take place at NVU-Johnson from Sunday, August 4th through Saturday, August 10th.

During the week-long GMYS CAMP, intermediate and advanced student musicians work with professional music coaches in chamber groups, private lessons, eurhythmics classes, and orchestra rehearsals. The week concludes with a concert for family and friends.


Participants reside at NVU-Johnson in beautiful Johnson, Vermont. Students share rooms in one of the central residence halls, which include shared bathrooms and common spaces on each floor. The small campus provides easy access to its excellent facilities, including: rehearsal rooms, practice rooms, Dibden Center for the Arts, cafeteria, dormitories, recreation areas, swimming pool, and social activity spaces. The surrounding area is ideally suited to outdoor activities like picnics, hikes, and games.

Musical Activities Outdoor & Recreational Activities
  • Chamber music
  • Private instruction
  • Orchestra Rehearsals
  • Eurhythmics classes
  • Elective classes
  • Informal Performances on campus
  • Final concert for family & friends
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Games
  • Movies
  • Variety show
  • Faculty recital
  • Free time to get to know other young musicians

Students must audition in order to be accepted into the GMYS Creative Arts & Music Program. Intermediate and advanced students of all orchestral instruments are invited to audition with a polished piece, a scale, and should expect to sight-read.

The cost for the GMYS Creative Arts & Music Program is $1,530 (or $1,310 for early registration by March 9), and includes meals, lodging, 36-40 hours of musical instruction, use of campus facilities, and recreational activities. Need-based financial assistance is available and information is part of the GMYS CAMP application.

CAMP 2019 is made possible in part by a generous grant from the Vermont Arts Council



Contact the Executive Director if you have any questions or are looking for more information.


Outreach Concerts

The GMYS Concert Orchestra sometimes visits local public schools for half a day each, reaching more than 500 kindergarten through eighth grade students annually with classroom visits, instrument demonstrations, and short performances. Student musicians playing music for their peers is an exciting and effective way to introduce classical music and orchestral instruments to new audiences. Such outreach efforts:

  1. Establish positive, collaborative relationships between local music teachers and the Green Mountain Youth Symphony;
  2. Support public school music programs by encouraging student participation;
  3. Educate future audience members to enjoy and participate in all types of musical and artistic presentations.


“I can definitely say it was one of the best assemblies I’ve been to, ever. You were fantastic with the kids and took every opportunity to teach them and involve them in the music. It was just delightful from beginning to end.”

- GMYS outreach concert teacher


So far, GMYS has visited the following schools:

  • Northfield Elementary School
  • Union Elementary School in Montpelier
  • Calais Elementary School
  • Twinfield Union School
  • Cabot School
  • Main Street Middle School in Montpelier
  • Barre Town Elementary and Middle School
  • Moretown Elementary School
  • Berlin Elementary School
  • Rumney Memorial

If your school is interested in organizing an outreach concert with the Green Mountain Youth Symphony, please contact us!


Collaborative Work

The Green Mountain Youth Symphony is an important part of the musical community of Central Vermont and works closely with other local performing venues, organizations, and artists. Past collaborative ventures and performance highlights of the GMYS orchestra program include:

  • First Night Montpelier 2005–2010
  • Montpelier’s Independence Day Celebration: 2008, 2010 and 2012
  • Farmers Night
  • Family concerts with the Vermont Philharmonic in 2009 - 2012
  • Project Outreach with the Montpelier Chamber Orchestra Society in 2008 - 2012
  • World-premiere performances of commissioned works by Vermont composers such as Erik Nielsen, Laura Koplewitz, and Dennis Bathory-Kitsz
  • Guest performances at the St. Johnsbury Academy, at the Chandler Music Hall in Randolph, and in a concert sponsored by the Paine Mountain Arts Council in Northfield
  • Joint performances with ensembles from the Upper Valley Music Center at the Lebanon Opera House in New Hampshire and the Barre Opera House in Vermont in 2011 and 2012


Latest News & Events

The Green Mountain Youth Symphony Third Annual Playathon

Monteplier, Vermont October 8, 2016

GMYS musicians played from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Christ Episcopal Church on State Street in Montpelier to the delight of downtown crowds. This was the third year GMYS has put on a playathon. Delicious baked goods provided by friends and families of GMYS were sold, and increased to the success of this tradition. A big thanks to our musicians who solicited pledges to support our programming.



Donate Online

The Green Mountain Youth Orchestra and its programs are made possible by the generosity of others. There are several ways to support GMYS.



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