ESYO CHIME seeks to break down the barriers that exist for many children to achieve musical excellence. Through intense music instruction and mentorship, ESYO CHIME provides youth musicians from economically disadvantaged communities comprehensive support at both the elementary and middle school levels. The program not only allows them to excel musically, it builds the skills needed to succeed in all areas of their lives including collaboration, creativity and critical thinking.

Launched in 2015, the goal of ESYO CHIME is to provide comprehensive support in a safe and enriched environment to give young musicians equal opportunity to pursue their talents. Our vision is to expand the program to impact children in communities throughout the Capital Region, and we are well on our way—CHIME has already tripled in size!


Central to ESYO CHIME is the conviction that pursuing musical excellence is transformational, and that such an endeavor should be available to all.

The barriers to music facing youth from economically disadvantaged communities are complex. In addition to costly instruments and private lesson fees, many are stymied by a lack of transportation, the absence of a safe and quiet place to practice, limited access to audition opportunities and musical mentors, and a lack of career guidance.

CHIME seeks to the fill these gaps, providing free, daily ensemble and private instruction, practice space, instruments, transportation, guidance and mentorship. With this level of support, CHIME musicians can have an equal opportunity to successfully audition into one of ESYO’s performing ensembles where they will be able to pursue excellence within an environment that defies any one economic label.


ESYO CHIME in Schenectady currently provides comprehensive support to children in in grades 1-8 with locations around the city.



Located at Yates and Van Corlaer Elementary Schools in Schenectady, this program is for children in grades 1-3, helping to provide them the musical foundation they need to go on to success in music. It provides free, daily music instruction through small group lessons, full ensemble rehearsals, choir, general music, and theory classes along with supervised practice. The Yates program is devoted to stringed instruments and the Van Corlaer program to wind, brass and percussion. Weekly community concerts take place at each site for friends and family. The program also includes side-by-side experiences with Empire State Youth Orchestra’s most advanced performing ensembles, and peer mentorship from older ESYO Youth Orchestra members.

The program is open to all students within the schools. Students must apply to the program to be considered and placement for available spots is based on a lottery, with preference given to children with the greatest financial need.


Located at the Adeline Graham Theatrical Training and Innovation Center (The Addy) at Proctors, CHIME at Proctors is open to all middle schools students (grades 6-8) in the Schenectady City School District as well as current CHIME musicians in grades 4-5 who have shown enough skill development to advance into this more advanced program. The program buses students after school from schools throughout the school district to provide them three hours of intensive music instruction five days per week. The program includes a full symphonic orchestra, giving them the highest the support and training they need to have the possible chance to transition to one of ESYO’s performing ensembles. 

The program is through application, including a personal statement and teacher recommendation.


ESYO CHIME in Albany currently provides children from underserved communities in the Albany area with free, weekly, private lessons to further their musical development. Lessons are currently provided at Hackett Middle School and the Thomas O’Brien Academy of Arts and Sciences in Albany (strings and brass), and in Schenectady (strings only) at Central Park and Mont Pleasant middle schools.

The goal is to continue to expand CHIME offerings to more schools in Schenectady, Albany, and Troy. 

“I have seen a remarkable improvement in him since CHIME.  He has more confidence and discipline.  His self-esteem has improved and he is just a happier kid.  He carries himself in a different way now. “

 -CHIME Musician’s Teacher


“He is smiling more and isn’t as sensitive to let small things bother him.  He is standing a little taller now.  It is great to see a sense of accomplishment in him.”  

 -CHIME Musician’s Teacher


“It is really inspiring to see how much you can change their lives just by showing them a few notes. It is really incredible to see them aspiring to be better musicians. “

 -ESYO Musician Mentor

Instruments for CHIME™ are provided through the generous support of John Keal Music Ad