Christmas concert: Young Shelton musicians to play Carnegie Hall

Two young Shelton musicians will perform with the GBYO’s Principal Orchestra in a Christmas concert at Carnegie Hall.
Two young Shelton musicians will perform with the GBYO’s Principal Orchestra in a Christmas concert at Carnegie Hall.

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

Louis Silvestro and Max Wang, both of Shelton, play violin with the orchestra and will be part of the concert.

“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 (GBYO).

“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,” Kepe-Haas said.

Headliners to play for charities

Multi-platinum soprano Jackie Evancho and flute virtuoso Sir James Galway 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 GBYO Principal Orchestra is performing at the famed New York City venue. The GBYO has five musical entities, with the others being the Concert Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra, String Orchestra, and Wind Ensemble.

GBYO members chosen by audition

The GBYO, founded in 1961, has members from nearly 30 communities in Fairfield and New Haven counties, selected by audition in the late summer.

The program gives ensemble members the opportunity to play at the highest level, both individually and collectively.

The Principal Orchestra was invited by Janis, a composer, 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.

Conductor: 'An exciting moment'

The GBYO is conducted by Christopher Hisey. “It was a great pleasure to play at Carnegie Hall when I was a student musician in GBYO,” he said.

“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.

Music in the schools

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