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Chautauqua Regional Youth Symphony
Board members of the Chautauqua Regional Youth Symphony (CRYS) were delighted recently to receive a grant from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation. The award from the foundation’s Blossom Fund and H. James Abdella Fund for the Arts will be used for the honorarium for CRYS Conductor and Music Director, Bryan Eckenrode.
“We are so grateful for the Community Foundation’s support of Bryan over many years,” said CRYS board president Katie Derrenbacher. “It has been critically important in our work to give our students an exceptional music education experience.”
Celebrating its 30th season, CRYS was established to provide quality classical music education and performance opportunities to young musicians and to add to the cultural offerings of our area.
Acclaimed both as a cellist and a conductor, Eckenrode took the musical reins of CRYS in 2003. The organization then had a single orchestra which is now the String Chamber Orchestra, its most advanced group for high school and college musicians. Prelude Strings for beginning string players and the Young Artists Orchestra for intermediate students were formed under Eckenrode’s leadership.
The application CRYS submitted to the Community Foundation stressed the value of music education, noting that, “Numerous studies have shown the significant impact music education has on child development, with improvements in motor skills, language development, visual learning, decision making, inventiveness, IQ, and academic performance.” As an example of CRYS’s contribution to helping develop our community’s leaders, it noted that, “Our newest board member is a CRYS ‘graduate’ who is now the 5th-12th grade band director at Chautauqua Lake Central School.”
In late April, CRYS students will take a trip to hear the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra perform “Star Wars and More: The Best of John Williams.” The Community Foundation also provided support for this enrichment experience that will include a backstage get-together with some of the orchestra members.
The culmination of this season will be the orchestras’ presentation of their Spring Gala Concert at 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Chautauqua Institution’s Elizabeth Lenna Hall.