an orchestra comprised of musicians, ages 12 to 21. The
musicians represent 13 schools in eleven school districts
throughout Northwest Ohio and include musicians in both junior
and senior high school.
The mission of the youth orchestra is “bridging
cultures through music.”
To achieve its mission, the youth orchestra welcomes musicians
of all racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. The
orchestra’s repertoire includes music which represents cultures
around the world. TIYO performs at multicultural events
throughout the community.
To make the Cuba trip possible, the youth orchestra needs to
raise $150,000 for travel expenses and shipping instruments and
musical equipment. While the youth orchestra is actively seeking
corporate sponsors, individual donors can contribute though the
www.crowdrise.com. Donors will fund the fundraiser under the
heading “Bridging Cultures Through Music.” Donations are
tax-deductible, because the group is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit group.
the most challenging obstacles for TIYO is funding
transportation for large, delicate instruments. For previous
trips, the group has rented large instruments, but musical
instrument rental businesses don’t exist in Cuba.
biggest concern is transporting cellos, string basses, and
percussion instruments,” said Jerome Walenc, one of three
TIYO conductors. “Many of our students do not own the
instruments they play, because they rent their instruments or
borrow instruments from their school. Hard-shell protective
cases are very expensive. These instruments cannot be handled
like luggage, because it would risk damaging the instruments, so
raising the money to cover these costs will be a high priority.”
All funds raised will be divided equally among all of the 56
students scheduled to make the trip. The goal is to ensure each
musician can travel without any out-of-pocket costs. Another
challenge is helping students whose families may struggle to
afford the opportunity to travel.
“Several of our students experience food and housing insecurity,
and many of them are on the free or reduced lunch program,” said
TIYO board president Dr. Elizabeth Athaide-Victor. “We
don’t want any musician to be excluded from this extraordinary
opportunity because they can’t afford to go. Just imagine how
life-changing this trip could be for those kids.”
Among the high schools represented in TIYO are: Toledo School
for the Arts (TSA); St. John’s Jesuit; St. Ursula Academy;
Whitmer, Start, Lakota, and Southview high schools;
Timberstone and Jefferson junior high schools;
Fassett and Springfield middle schools; Maumee
Valley Country Day School, and the University of Toledo.
The students play stringed, brass, woodwind, and percussion
The featured selections for the Cuba trip represent an
international musical repertoire, including music from Spain,
Portugal, Latin America, England, Thailand, Italy, Russia, and
the Middle East. There also will be U.S. patriotic and
African-American spiritual selections. There will be
well-recognized movie music, such as selections from Star Wars
and Sleeping Beauty.
The Toledo International Youth Orchestra has previously traveled
to: Peru, China, Canada, Poland, Germany, Tanzania, Japan,
England, Austria, Poland, and South Korea.