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HYSO Tours France

Hochstein Youth Symphony Orchestra Brings American Celebration of Music to France During 70th Anniversary of D-Day Celebrations 


Tour Dates: April 11-19, 2014  Final Tour Rehearsal: Wednesday, April 9, 6-8:30pm Hochstein Performance Hall Tour Departure: Friday, April 11, 1:30pm

50 local youth to perform several concerts

Last Spring the Hochstein Youth Symphony Orchestra (HYSO) received a formal invitation to represent the state of New York in performance at the American Celebration of Music in France, Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of D-Day: The Battle of Normandy and the Liberation of France. The tour dates are set for April 11-19 and several performance venues and sightseeing locations have been organized to tie in with the official WWII remembrances. Fifty of the HYSO members will board a bus with their chaperones and fly out of Toronto on Friday, April 11 bound for Paris. The orchestra’s first performance is in Tours, France on April 13. They travel to Normandy to perform in a memorial recital and participate in the wreath-laying ceremony at the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach on April 15 in addition to an evening performance in Caen. After a stop at the Peace Memorial in Caen, the orchestra returns to Paris for final performances. The tour has been organized by Music Celebrations International, who worked with the Department of Defense Office of Commemorations and the Mayors of Paris and Caen to bring the HYSO to France.

 Repertoire for the performances was chosen by HYSO Director Casey Springstead and will include the American National Anthem, two American composers, Eric Whitacre and William Schuman, a trio of European composers Giuseppe Verdi, Georges Bizet, and Hector Berlioz, along with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. HYSO Conducting Apprentice, Brandon Keough, will be given the thrill of conducting the Pastorale (L’Arlesienne Suite No. 2) by Bizet. Brandon is a senior at Rush-Henrietta’s Sperry High School.

This is the second major cross-cultural opportunity for the current HYSO, who had the privilege of performing in a live video exchange in February with Rochester sister city of Alytus and its youth orchestra in Lithuania. Our students are well-versed in the international language of music, which crosses all borders,” says Casey. “We are so privileged to share our talents and represent our country in conjunction with the D-Day celebrations in France.” 

Orchestra Manager Ruth Gates says the cost per student of approximately $3800 was raised through private donations, a Saturday morning bagel cart at Hochstein, a bottle-refund drive and various other fundraisers. The students are grateful for the support of their families and friends and the community that has supported their efforts.


Under the direction of Nancy Strelau, the HYSO made its first performance tour in 2001, traveling and performing in Vienna, Graz, Innsbruck, and Salzburg, Austria. The orchestra made its Carnegie Hall debut in New York City in April 2002, and was a featured performer at the New York State Music Educators Convention in November 2003. HYSO continued to travel in 2004, performing in Normandy and Paris, France. In April 2006 the orchestra traveled to Germany and the Czech Republic, performing in Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig, and Novy Bor. In April 2009, the group presented concerts in Rome, Florence, Cremona, Italy, and in Weggis, Switzerland. The group toured southern Ireland performing benefit concerts in Dublin, Galway, Kilkenny and Bray in 2011.

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