Western CT Youth Orchestra Receives CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant from CT Humanities

Western CT Youth Orchestra (WCYO) was recently awarded an $8,800 CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant from CT Humanities (CTH). CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grants assist organizations as they recover from the pandemic and maintain and grow their ability to serve their community and the public.

The mission of the WCYO is to educate and inspire young musicians through the study and performance of classical and contemporary musical works, participation in enrichment activities, and engagement with the community. Its members are challenged not only to perform at the highest level, but also to build character, creativity and self-esteem, with music as their guide. This grant will insure WCYO can maintain artistic excellence in its music education and performance programs via the employment of professional conductors, artist-faculty, and coaches.

“Everyone values music,” shared WCYO Executive Director Ruth Feldman, “from the national anthem at a sporting event, to the lullabies we sing to our children, or the excitement created by a great orchestra performance at public events, in the soundtrack of a movie or at a Broadway musical. It takes community support of school-based music programs and auditioned-programs like WCYO to insure the next generation will receive the education, inspiration, and opportunity to become the talented musicians we all cherish.”

WCYO was one of 723 organizations in Connecticut receiving a CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant. Totaling more than $8.5M, these grants are part of a two-year, $30.7M investment in arts, humanities, and cultural nonprofits by the CT General Assembly and approved by Governor Ned Lamont.

This CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant is provided to WCYO from CT Humanities, with funding from the Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA) from the Connecticut State Legislature.

“WCYO is most grateful to receive this support from the people of Connecticut via CT Humanites to help us serve area youth and our community through music. It’s an investment in the possibilities we see in youth and the gift of music they can share with us all,” said Ms. Feldman.

Western Connecticut Youth Orchestra is 501c3 non-profit based in Ridgefield, CT. The WCYO Symphony Orchestra, String Orchestra, and Wind Ensemble perform three large concerts per year and at community outreach events. The Charles Ives Music Festival at WCYO presents a professional artists chamber concert series and chamber and orchestra programs for youth musicians, including a two week educational and performance festival in August.

CT Humanities (CTH) is an independent, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. CTH connects people to the humanities through grants, partnerships, and collaborative programs. CTH projects, administration, and program development are supported by state and federal matching funds, community foundations, and gifts from private sources. Learn more by visiting cthumanities.org.

The Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA) is the state agency charged with fostering the health of Connecticut’s creative economy. Part of the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development, the COA is funded by the State of Connecticut and the National Endowment for the Arts.

To learn more about the WCYO or to schedule an audition, please visit wctyo.org or call



Submitted by Ridgefield, CT

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