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Empire State Youth Orchestra Enjoys Boost from Regional, State, and National Grants

Annual support from across the region, state and nation provides critical fuel for ESYO’s outstanding music program.

To date, ESYO has received $150,000 in grants since the start of the season, including a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Challenge America award of $10,000. This marks the second consecutive year that the NEA has chosen to fund CHIME’s Amplify Our Voice project (AOV). AOV is an innovative, collective composition project that offers youth a powerful vehicle to process emotion, explore shared experiences and “amplify” their artistic voice to the world. Annually, through reflection, improvisation, and experimentation, CHIME youth create an original, multi-level composition in collaboration with a guest artist. This year, that artist is Horacio Fernandez and AOV 2024 will premiere on May 17th at Mont Pleasant Middle School in Schenectady. 

In addition to the NEA award, ESYO CHIME received a $50,000 grant from the Rea Charitable Trust, marking the Trust’s sixth year of funding the free, afterschool music program at that level. Funding has been received from regional foundations as well. The Review Foundation awarded CHIME $10,000, the John D. Picotte Family Foundation granted $5,000, the D’Addario Foundation awarded $2,500 and the William Gundry Broughton Foundation granted $20,000. These contributions ensure that CHIME students are able to take advantage of opportunities such as national music festivals, regional clinics and workshops, and that they have the tools they need to succeed, including quality instruments, audition funds and private lessons.

Beyond support for CHIME, ESYO was awarded $40,000 for general operations from the New York State Council on the Arts and $10,000 from the Alfred Z. Solomon Charitable Trust to fund scholarships for students with financial need. “We are so grateful for the continued support from so many outstanding charitable organizations in our community and beyond. It is a privilege to have their trust, and to be able to expend their resources in support of our young musicians,” said ESYO’s Executive Director, Becky Calos. “Their support expands access to incredible musical experiences for hundreds of young people, and empowers them to explore their talents in an enriching environment.”