Celebrating 12 years as the Gabriel Youth Orchestra!
Open to young musicians (grades seven to twelve, with exceptions made for younger students upon recommendation of their music teachers), the GYO is the very foundation of our organization's educational efforts.
The GYO is under the direction of John Shoener. John is a graduate of Pottsville Area High School. John holds a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from The Pennsylvania State University. He also holds a Master's Degree in Music Education from the University of Florida. John has performed with various professional musicians and ensembles, and is active in The Cressona Band and The After Hours Big Band. He is the leader of the M&J Big Band of Pottsville, as well as a trumpet player and founding member with the Coal Forged Brass Quintet. John is also an active pit orchestra musician in Schuylkill County. In June 2017, John was appointed as the Director of Bands and Music Teacher at the Shenandoah Valley School District in Shenandoah, PA, where he conducts all bands grades 5-12. He served as Associate Conductor of the GYO for the Spring 2019 season. He has served as the Musical Director and Principal Conductor of the GYO since Fall 2019.
The GYO is the only available outlet for young musicians to assemble in full orchestral mode, with the string instruments differentiating the ensemble from the many "bands" that exist at the high school level and in the community.
The Gabriel Youth Orchestra meets for rehearsals on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 7 pm, and presents two concerts in Pottsville, and a special education concert for all Schuylkill County fourth graders. This educational ensemble is the only orchestral training available in our area to students in county schools. This orchestra is funded by the Gabriel Chamber Ensemble organization, by ticket and advertising revenues as well as individual, corporate and foundation support, governmental and other grants.