Youth Symphony Receives ASI and CRCF Grants; Prepares for Annual Spring Gala

The beginner group of the Chautauqua Regional Youth Symphony, Prelude Strings, rehearses socially distant in preparation for the Annual Spring Gala on May 22nd at 4pm at the Village of Celoron Band Shell.

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Chautauqua Regional Youth Symphony

The Chautauqua Regional Youth Symphony is thrilled to announce that they recently received one of the Arts Services Inc. “Give for Greatness” grants of $1000.

The Give for Greatness Grants, given by Arts Services, Inc. every year to arts and cultural nonprofit organizations based in Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties. In 2020, 57 organizations applied for the grants while only 25 were awarded.

The full grant announcement, and a list of the other recipients of the grant, can be found at ASI’s website:

CRYS is also thrilled to announce the receival of a grant from the Chautauqua Regional Community Foundation of $1650 to be used for Baroque Bows and string coaches.

The Chamber Symphony Orchestra uses Baroque bows for appropriate pieces during their performances. This gives the student a historically accurate performance experience which is unique to any experience most students receive in their public school music programs.

Furthermore, another element that sets the CRYS experience apart is the frequent bringing in of coaches from around the local and surrounding areas to instruct CRYS students and to expose them to many different musical experts. Coaches can include local music teachers, professional performers and even collegiate music professors.

The youth symphony has been hard at work this spring for their annual Spring Gala, which is scheduled later in May.

CRYS has been presented with a myriad of challenges this year due to the COVID – 19 pandemic. The scheduling of concerts is definitely among the list of additional obstacles. Traditionally, the Spring Gala is held at Chautauqua Institution’s Lenna hall, however, because of social distancing protocols in addition to busy schedules, Lenna Hall was not an option for 2021’s performance.

The board has worked hard to continue to pursue the opportunity of a live performance for their students. With many school music programs cancelling their fall and spring concerts, this live performance may be the only one the students are able to play during the entire school year.

Although the group did present a fall concert, it was entirely virtual. Families and friends of the orchestra were able to listen and watch the performance from the safety of their own living rooms. A recording of the fall concert can be viewed on the Symphony’s website,

The Spring Gala will be presented live at the Celoron Band Shell on May 22nd, at 4p.m. The outdoor venue makes it possible to invite a live audience despite the ongoing pandemic. The concert will also be live streamed over the Chautauqua Regional Youth Symphony’s Facebook page and will also be posted to the CRYS website after the event.

The concert is free of admission although 50/50 tickets will be sold to in-person audience members and a free will offering will be given to those in attendance virtually.

Audience members who plan on attending live will need to bring their own lawn chairs. It is also highly suggested social distancing is maintained between household units throughout the audience.

Performing in the Spring Gala will be the Chamber Symphony Orchestra as well as Prelude Strings. The CSO is the organization’s advanced ensemble while Prelude strings is the organization’s beginner group. In addition, a Suzuki string group will be performing alongside CRYS string students.

Both ensembles will be directed by the esteemed conductor and performer, Bryan Eckenrode. Eckenrode has been the music director for CRYS for the past two decades. The Suzuki group is taught by CRYS President, Nina Karbacka.

Traditionally, CRYS ensembles are open to string students as well as students who play orchestral wind and percussion instruments. During the 2020-2021 school year, only string students were able to participate due to pandemic restrictions. The organization will be thrilled to invite wind and percussion players to participate again this coming fall.

To learn more about CRYS and its programs for young musicians, email manager, Tim Przybelinski at or visit or the Chautauqua Regional Youth Symphony’s Facebook page.