Community Engagement Initiatives

GDYO strives to serve and engage the community in ways that are welcoming to all young musicians and their families. Increased efforts and resources are directed towards encouraging diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in order to truly engage GDYO’s local community and enable GDYO and its participants to thrive outside the walls of The Sammons Center and the stage of the Meyerson.

Capacity-Building within Dallas Independent School District Music Programs

GDYO provides subsidized programming within DISD music programs, comprised of private and in-class musical instruction, music teacher mentorships, and donations of essential music supplies. The partnership between DISD and GDYO was established with the goal of addressing an array of challenges on the DISD horizon.
Throughout the 17-18 school year, programming was held within music programs at Kramer and Anne Frank Elementary Schools. In just one year, the program yielded significant, measurable success, and per the request of DISD leadership, GDYO expanded significantly for the 18-19 school year.
Now, GDYO’s efforts have expanded to offer many diverse elements of assistance, geared toward capacity-building within each music program to address short term issues and promote long term growth and improvements.
Long-term (5 – 8 month) weekly intensives at school orchestra and band programs are offered each school year, while concurrently expanding to other school districts such as Irving ISD. Each location includes the following capacity-building initiatives:

  • Teacher support – lesson plans, conducting techniques, class management, etc.,
  • Music supplies – books and ancillary items such as shoulder rests, resin, etc.,
  • Student private lessons – 30 minute, small-group coaching,
  • Other focus-areas depending on the limitations of the schools.

Short-term capacity building offerings include two-hour, in-class jazz, concert band or classical conducting workshops by the GDYO conducting staff at area high schools. Last season, GDYO visited over 40 Dallas ISD schools alone benefitting an estimated 6,000 students.

Mariachi Camp

In addition to the above programs, the GDYO also partners with the DISD to present a free Mariachi Camp to DISD students.
View photos and read more about the program here

Community Collaborations and Performances

The recent growth in the number of our smaller ensembles has sparked exciting programming opportunities and choices that are furthering GDYO’s desire to strengthen and expand its community engagement initiatives beyond GDYO traditions, and move towards collaborations that address community needs – including diversity and accessibility. With an intentional approach to venue selection and partnerships, GDYO is out in the community more than ever! GDYO Jazz, for example, has performed concerts at a diversity of locations including the North Texas Giving Day’s 15th Anniversary Celebration, TACA’s Silver Cup Award, Shakespeare Dallas’s Winter Faire and Festival, Dallas Jazz Appreciation Month (or D’Jam), the Dallas Arboretum and the Dallas Public Library, with many more community driven performances to come!

Community Engagement Press

Theater Jones 5/15/2019

Park Cities People 4/23/2019

“…GDYO offered excellent programming that was led by Susan Younghans, the conductor of GDYO’s two youngest ensembles. Without this program, our students generally wouldn’t have much access to private lessons, which has improved their musicality dramatically. Further, (our teachers) received enhanced lesson plans, new classroom management techniques, and assistance with navigating the administrative landscape at both schools. Indeed, our schools benefited greatly from the positive impact GDYO’s programming had on both our teachers and the students. Consequently, we are now working toward increasing the number of schools visited by GDYO, and expanding services at schools for the next year.“

Dimas Delgado, Director of Fine Arts, Irving ISD

“We have had Dr. Holt come out to us to clinic the Bryan Adams High School Varsity Orchestra in the past, and the kids and I are hoping to get the opportunity to work with her again! Dr. Holt has been such a vital part of our UIL Concert & Sightreading program preparation. I thoroughly enjoy Dr. Holt’s approach to engaging the students, her ability to create a safe environment where the students can be venerable and her attention to me, the Director! I have gained 1st class instructional rehearsal and pedagogical techniques that have given me the skills needed to advance as an educator. Through the GDYO Capacity Building Program, I have been able to advance this group from receiving Fair Ratings (IV) to receiving consistent Superior Ratings (I) at the UIL Concert and Sightreading Contest. I owe a lot of my success to Dr. Holt and the GDYO!”

Steven Ramirez, Director of Orchestras, Bryan Adams High School Leadership Academy