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BYO in Their Words

"BYO is an incredible young people's orchestra. It offered my son the opportunity to play in a full orchestra and perform music in concerts. BYO (and its conductor and coaches) has played an integral role in helping my son progress instrumentally and in his love and appreciation for music. Jay and Kate are nurturing, funny, and relate well with the teens while challenging them musically. They have been an inspiration! BRAVO!" 

                                                                                                        - Marjorie Chiu, parent of BYO member

"Even though I joined BYO mid-season, I felt instantly welcomed and part of the BYO family. It was a great experience for me as I got to play in a full orchestra as well as small chamber groups, which I thought was the most enjoyable experience of the season. As instruments not usually at the forefront (like bass clarinet), got to be heard in the chamber group, it was a refreshing change. Also, I appreciated Jay, Kate, and Jon's coaching all season, especially their varied methods. Kate was truly a great woodwind coach who was always there for us, as well as an integral part of the low woodwind family." 

                                                                                                                - Thi Nguyen, former BYO member


"BYO is a wonderful orchestra where our daughter felt very at home right away as a new member. She had such a positive experience as a violist for BYO. She learned a great deal, made many friends, and always came home happy and positive aout the experience she had at rehearsals. The concerts are beautiful and always so impressive. The coaches and conductor were always so nurturing and enthusiastic. Overall, BYO is a wonderful community of musicians, teachers, and parents!" 

                                                                                                                 - Gail Reagan, former BYO parent

"For three and a half years, BYO was a place for me to not only grow musically, but socially. Being a violinist, I naturally became acquainted with dozens of middle and high school instrumentalists from all over Contra Costa county and the Bay Area. When I first joined mid-season as a 5th grader, I had no experience in a large and formal orchestra. In fact, my music theory knowledge was close to nil, I could never keep up with the rest of the group, and the magnitude of my terrible sight reading was not even worth mentioning. Really, it was a little terrifying. But then, that experience made me brave enough to tackle all the obstacles in my way. Of course, I was constantly helped by those around me, fellow newbies as well as veterans at the head of their sections. Some of my best friends today were the ones I made during snack time, where practically everyone was either running around or talking to each other, united by hunger, energy, hobbies, and maybe even exhaustion. All the coaches: Heghine, Cliff, Ilana, John, Kate, Jake, and of course, our beloved conductor Jay, helped us each become important parts of the orchestra. Though they were definitely picky and a little pushy most of the time, they are the ones who made it possible for someone as inexperienced as I was to become Assistant Principal for second violin after the half season I joined and Concert Master the season after that. To all those musicians out there ready to bring out the best in themselves and gain memorable experiences unforgettable in a lifetime, BYO is the community where you can find and build it all. 

                                                                                                        - Dana Zhu, former BYO concertmaster

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