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Congressman Tonko visits site of ESYO’s Center for Musical Youth

Rep. Tonko touring Capital District projects that benefitted from federal funding

Congressman Paul D. Tonko joined members of the Empire State Youth Orchestra and Schenectady County Legislature on October 13 to tour the site for the orchestra’s new building at 45 MacArthur Drive in Scotia.

Recently, the Schenectady County Legislature unanimously voted to approve a resolution providing $1.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to ESYO. The grant, which is ESYO's largest ever, will seed the transformation of the former St. Joseph's Parish School into a state-of-the-art rehearsal facility where the 14 performing ensembles of ESYO can practice.

“Any time we invest in the arts, we’re investing in a sound future. The arts heal. The arts bring us together, they challenge and inspire us,” Rep. Tonko said today. “I couldn’t be prouder of this partnership and the great sense it brings to our region.”

Also in attendance was Omar Williams, ESYO Board Chair. “This is an amazing project, in which it doesn’t matter your political ideology or affiliation,” said Williams. “When it comes to music and the arts and youth, we are all on the same page. And this project could not have occurred without the tremendous support of our federal partners, our local partners, the State, the County, the City. All of these people are coming together for this shared vision. As a music teacher myself, I really can’t help but picture this as my band room right now.”

“Where our project is right now, this is our first rehearsal, and this is the most exciting part for me,” said Williams. “Most folks are used to just seeing the polished, finished part on the concert stage, but for me, this is where bonds are created. This is where the true magic happens.”

When the building is ready, it will be the first time in ESYO's history that all ensembles will be housed in one building, providing more opportunities for young musicians to meet, collaborate and sound together. For more on ESYO’s Center for Musical Youth, see below: