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ESYO CHIME to play at Proctors’ GE Theater

ESYO CHIME to play at Proctors’ GE Theater

Program director: 'This is our first collaboration with all three parts of our program'
ESYO CHIME to play at Proctors’ GE Theater
Members of ESYO CHIME pose with hip-hop instrumentalists Black Violin at a past performance.
Photographer: photo provided

Editor’s note: Updated with new location 

With three years under their belt, the musicians in the Empire State Youth Orchestra's CHIME program feel like they really have something to offer.

"This is our first collaboration with all three parts of our program, and we're very excited about playing," said EMSO CHIME program director John Connolly, whose group will put on a performance Wednesday night (Aug. 8) at 7 p.m. at the GE Theater at Proctors (moved there from its originally scheduled location at Music Haven in Central Park). "We'll be side by side with each other, and really be able to showcase all the work we've done the last three years. Each program has performed in public before, but this is the first time all three will be playing together."

The ESYO's Schenectady version of CHIME, which stands for "Creating Harmony, Inspiring Musical Excellence," is made up of programs from two of the the city's elementary schools - Van Corlaer and Yates - as well as an orchestra made up of middle schools in Schenectady that meets at Proctors.

"This year we expanded to those three programs, and next year we're hoping to get even bigger and increase the age range of the student and go right up to the 12th grade," said Connolly. "We had about 40 students after that first year, and now we're up to about 60 orchestral instruments. We are doing our best to empower our students and better equip them with the tools they need for the 21st Century. We are helping them impact where they live, and helping them change their community."

CHIME was created as a daily after-school program which was quickly expanded to include a summer session. At Proctors, the group meets and rehearses at the Adeline Graham Theatrical Training and Innovation Center. CHIME is open to all middle school students (grades 6-8) in Schenectady and all fourth and fifth graders at Yates and Van Corlaer.

"We have three hours of intense training each day after the school, throughout the school year from September to June, and over the two previous summers we had a two-week course in August," said Connolly. "This year we were able to increase it to four weeks at Proctors."

Formerly a trombonist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Connolly trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Elizabeth Sweet, who got her master's in Violo Performance from Wichita State University and her Performance Diploma in Violo from Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute of Music, will be conducting Wednesday's concert.

CHIME was created to provide youths from economically disadvantaged areas comprehensive support at both the elementary and middle school levels. ESYO CHIME now provides children from underserved communities in the Albany area free, weekly private lessons at Hackett Middle School and the Thomas O'Brien Academy of Arts and Sciences in Albany. The group is hoping to expand those programs and to start a third group in Troy.

Tonight's program at the Music Haven will include music from "Beauty and the Beast," "The Magic of Harry Potter" and "Romeo and Juliet Overture."

ESYO CHIME in Concert

WHERE: GE Theater, Proctors, Schenectady

WHEN: 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8


MORE INFO: Visit www.esyo.org




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