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Mission & Philosophy

The mission of the Green Mountain Youth Symphony is to create a community of young musicians from Northern and Central Vermont through the performance of great music.

GMYS strives to be an essential part of the development of children into well-rounded young adults by:

  • Creating healthy alternate peer groups,

  • Providing mentoring relationships with musical adults, and

  • Challenging members with high yet achievable expectations while maintaining an enjoyable rehearsal environment.


The Green Mountain Youth Symphony:

  • Supports the musical growth of its students, as individual musicians and as members of an orchestra, in a positive, encouraging, and non-competitive environment;

  • Expects all members to demonstrate excellence and effort appropriate to their own levels of musical ability;

  • Educates young musicians about orchestral playing and technique as well as about classical music as a living art form;

  • Instills a lifelong love of music in its members, whether as future professional musicians and music teachers, amateur players, audience members, or casual listeners; and

  • Connects orchestra members with the community in which they live and integrates the orchestra into the cultural life of Central Vermont.

"We had a small dream: to establish a youth orchestra in Central Vermont. We started with the idea that if we could get a dozen or so kids together with a good conductor, we could slowly grow our program here in Montpelier. Forty-three young musicians showed up for our auditions! Within a year, we were seventy players strong. Now we can call it a dream realized!"


    – August Burns, GMYS Founder

"I didn't realize how lucky I was to be part of such a talented,welcoming, and kind community of musicians until I got to college and found that not everyone had the same great experience and opportunities that I had with GMYS."

                                - A GMYS Alum

Mission & Philoso

Our History

GMYS was founded in 2001 to provide young musicians of Central Vermont with the opportunity to play and perform orchestral music in their own community with their peers. Prior to its existence, many student musicians traveled great distances in order to find a comparable program, and many others were unable to participate in a youth orchestra.

Now in its nineteenth year under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert Blais, the Green Mountain Youth Symphony reaches approximately one hundred young musicians each year from more than twenty-five towns throughout Central and Northern Vermont. GMYS continues to offer a rich musical experience where children can pursue their interests and talents, find a vehicle for self-expression, and learn teamwork. GMYS provides young musicians with a vital alternative for developing character and self-esteem through discipline and hard work, imparting feelings of importance and competence through meaningful accomplishment, and cultivating a sense of themselves as musicians.


Past highlights of the GMYS orchestra program include:

  • Performances with Black Violin! in 2018; at First Night Montpelier 2005—2010; Montpelier’s Independence Day Celebration in 2008 and 2010; Farmers Night; family concerts with the Vermont Philharmonic in 2009 and 2010; and Project Outreach with the Montpelier Chamber Orchestra Society 2008—2010

  • Concerts at the Montshire Museum of Science (2017), St. Johnsbury Academy, at the Chandler Music Hall in Randolph, and in Northfield sponsored by the Paine Mountain Arts Council

  • GMYS represented North America at the Eurochestries Festival in Québec City in August 2011.

  • World-premiere performances of commissioned works by Vermont composers such as Erik Nielsen, Laura Koplewitz, and Dennis Bathory-Kitsz

  • Features on WCAX-TV and on Vermont Notes on WCVT radio

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