Young musicians to play Carnegie Hall

Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras chosen for American Christmas Carol

The Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras prepare to perform at Carnegie Hall Dec. 5. (Howard Rockwin Photo)

The Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras prepare to perform at Carnegie Hall Dec. 5. (Howard Rockwin Photo)

The Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras will perform at Carnegie Hall Dec. 5 as part of Tim Janis’s The American Christmas Carol, an evening celebrating and supporting music education and those living with autism.

Fairfield residents playing with the orchestra are Stephen Battaglia on French horn, Sathrak Bothra on violin, Emily Brennan on flute, Meredith J. Brown on viola, Benjamin Crosby on cello,  Adela Fejzaj on violin, Sagar Gulati on cello, Zoë Haley-Johnson on violin, David Hawthorne on percussion, Jonathan Liu on viola, Janice Liu on flute, Braden Macchia on percussion, Max Moon on bassoon, Matthew Oster on bass, Andrew Paik on bass, Jeff Pearson on violin, Mike Perlman on bass, Matthew Reich on trumpet, Elizabeth Reidy on flute, Katie Reis on violin, Alexandra Starovoitov on violin, Jack Ullman violin, George Wang on violin, Jenny Yang on flute; Mitchell Yeoh on violin, Brad Yoon on clarinet, ChaeLim Yoon on violin, Kristen Young on violin, and Jennifer Zhang on violin.

They are joined by Southport residents Emil Friis and Bryan Page on violin and Cosden Leahey on cello.

“Carnegie Hall is one of the most important music halls in the world,” said Anna Kepe-Haas, executive director of the Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras. “Having our orchestra be invited to perform at the hall with such great musical legacy is a great privilege and a wonderful once-in-a-lifetime learning experience for the young musicians of GBYO.”

Multi-platinum soprano Jackie Evancho and flute virtuoso Sir James Galway also headline the concert, honoring Music of Hope and Kate Winslet’s Golden Hat Foundation. The lineup also includes a special appearance by Lady Jeanne Galway, performances by Dove Award-winning Cindy Cruse Ratcliff, Lumiere from Ireland, and the American Christmas Carol choir.

The Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras, founded in 1961, draw members from nearly 30 communities in Fairfield and New Haven counties, selected by audition in late August/early September. The program is developmentally progressive, and gives ensemble members the opportunity to play at the highest level both individually and collectively. GBYO exposes all of its ensembles’ members to all types of symphonic literature and enriches their musical education.

Only the Principal Orchestra is performing. All musicians have to audition for GBYO every year. Based on the competitive audition, each young musician is placed in the appropriate orchestra each year.

The Principal Orchestra was invited by Janis to participate in the Carnegie Hall concert based on the reputation of GBYO and its young musicians. Janis was looking for a youth orchestra while in New York City, and GBYO was highly recommended to him.

The Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestra is conducted by Christopher Hisey.

“It was a great pleasure to play at Carnegie Hall when I was a student musician in GBYO. Now as the music director it will be an exciting moment to bring the current young GBYO musicians to Carnegie Hall and this time conduct the GBYO on the Carnegie hall stage,” Hisey said.

Tim Janis Music of Hope has a strong focus on keeping music in schools and heightening public awareness of its benefits. Music of Hope’s music education initiative, Celebrate America, is a team effort with public television, designed to give students the opportunity to showcase their music programs on local PBS broadcasts and encourage them in their musical aspirations. To date, Celebrate America has had more than 24,000 participating students, with all costs donated by Janis.

The American Christmas Carol is in its eighth year at Carnegie Hall.

Tickets or more information about the concert may be found at

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