The New Jersey Youth Symphony will be joined by the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, Hawaii Youth Symphony, Los Angeles Youth Orchestra, and Youth Orchestras of San Antonio for the U.S. Youth Orchestras eFestival on September 20, 2020.

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ, September 11, 2020 /Neptune100/ — The New Jersey Youth Symphony, a program of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts, announced today that it will host the U.S. Youth Orchestras eFestival “We Never Stopped Making Music” on September 20, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. EST via Zoom and YouTube Live. Celebrating American youth orchestras across the country during the global pandemic, the eFestival is free and open to the public. For more information, visit

Following a constituency meeting of the youth orchestra division at this year’s virtual League of American Orchestras conference, New Jersey Youth Symphony Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Helen H. Cha-Pyo partnered with Russell Steinberg, Music Director of the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra, to invite music directors across the country to share how their youth orchestras responded to the global pandemic. Allen Tinkham, Music Director of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras; Joseph Stepec, Symphony Program Director of the Hawaii Youth Symphony; and Troy Peters, Music Director of the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio, will join together to celebrate the vitality of American youth orchestras and raise awareness of the importance of performing arts education, especially during social distancing. In addition, each youth orchestra will feature a student representative who will share how continuing to make music throughout the pandemic has had a positive impact on their lives. The student musicians will also introduce a virtually coordinated performance video, demonstrating the innovative ways their youth orchestras have continued to connect, perform, and amplify the creative voices of young musicians during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“In the midst of this global crisis, we must do everything we can to keep music and creative arts alive in the lives of young people,” said Cha-Pyo. “On behalf of over 400 youth orchestras in the U.S., we want to take a moment to celebrate and encourage our student musicians to keep making music and spread the message of hope in their communities and beyond.”

“Especially in challenging times, it is extremely important to continue exploring ways to keep the music-making going,” said Peter H. Gistelinck, Executive Director at the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts. “And remaining relevant by constant out-of-the-box thinking is key in this particular situation.”

The New Jersey Youth Symphony, founded in 1979, is a tiered orchestral program offering ensemble education for students in grades 3-12 across New Jersey. NJYS has grown from one orchestra of 65 students to over 500 students in 15 different orchestras and ensembles, including the internationally recognized Youth Symphony. NJYS ensembles have performed in venues including the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Carnegie Hall, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. NJYS has received numerous prestigious awards for its adventurous programming from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and has had six European tours, including participation in the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Festival and Competition (Vienna), winning First Prizes in July 2014 and 2017.

Now in its 42nd season, NJYS continues to achieve musical excellence through intensive instruction and high-level performance. Under the guidance of a talented team of conductors, coaches, and teaching artists, students are immersed in challenging repertoire, learning the art of ensemble playing, and exploring their potential in a supportive and inclusive environment. NJYS remains committed to programming works by diverse composers and featured 20th century African American and women composers such as Duke Ellington, George Walker, Yvonne Desportes, Emma Lou Diemer, Julia Perry, and Florence Price this past season.

The New Jersey Youth Symphony is a program of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts. Wharton is New Jersey’s largest non-profit performing arts education organization serving over 1,500 students of all ages and abilities through a range of classes and ensembles. In addition to the New Jersey Youth Symphony, programs include the Paterson Music Project and the Performing Arts School.