Gifford Youth Orchestra

More violins - Better Tomorrows

We have to ask for your help -- we need it more than ever!

More than ever in our history, we have to ask for your investment in our program.  If we are to keep our children engaged and moving forward with their critical music education, we need special teachers and teaching arrangements, more individual classes on Zoom, and more program hours!  Because we are keeping our staff on payroll, we just have to ask for your help -- for your support, and for your investments.


Support GYO with a donation!

The Gifford Youth Orchestra is a 5-1 (c)(3) Corporation Since 2010

Click here to donate securely online.


Thank you for your donation!

GYO Classes are alive and well via the internet!!!

Dear GYO family,


Thanks to the tenacity and creativity of our teaching staff and the coordinated efforts or the Executive Director of our Music Education Program, the Gifford Youth Orchestra (GYO) is up and running.  Classes have resumed via the internet and music education is provided to keep our students "off the street," but for now on the screen! 

We are not sure when we will be performing on stage again, but as soon as we can -- we will!

Meanwhile, we continue to remind our students and all the members of their families and our staff to: 

Avoid close contact with people who are sick

  • Avoid touching your face especially, your eyes, nose and or mouth
  • Cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue and discard it immediately
  • Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces
  • CLEAN your hands often
  • For more information visit the CDC’s website


The world virus has dealt us a difficult hand, but we intend to make the most of it and work through the concerns and issues together. Thank you for your understanding and support.

we were lucky:  The crystal gazing celebration was scheduled early enough that the show went on!  Here are some photos from the March 7th Celebration

Xaque Gruber, Emcee, Dr. Crystal Bujol, and Crystal Gazing Performing Artists

        Willie Mae Green and daughter,                  regina edmonds Make their Exit




Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Trapp 




Half the Guests w/ UUFVB Folks

The Other Half W/ COMMISSIONER Flesher

Reception Table With GYO Parents

Brothers Jim and Larry Parks

Mark Wygonik, Parent and Linda Rollins

gyo Performing Artists' table

Chanton Taylor and

George Blythe and Jim  Daly

GYO Musicians Greeting Mr. & Mrs. Driver

Cathy and Dick Early Arrivals




Pages from the 2019 Concert Souvenir Program Book


Cover Page

 Page 3 - Marissa Rollins Expands the GYO

          There was Standing room only!


Gifford Youth Orchestra held its

16th Annual String Concert

"Silver Strings"

Celebrating 16 years of Music Education

that keeps children

"Off the Street and On the Stage!"

Because Silver is the gift for 16th anniversary

We chose Silver Strings as our theme

The Concert was held on Nov. 2nd, at the

Gifford Community Center

4875 43rd Avenue, Gifford, FL 32967

As silver threads glistened in the background 48 children performed their best music before a standing room only audience who applauded, loudly, for every single song!



More pages from the program book below.


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Did you ever hear the adage about teaching hungry people how to fish?  "Teach a woman how to fish and she feeds the whole community!"  Marissa Rollins not only did it for herself -- but she is now teaching others to do the same!   (read below)


Marissa Rollins' USF Graduation


          In 2007 she put her name on the GYO Roll and picked up her first violin.  Beginning in 2012, one after another, she added her name to the Vero Beach High School: Concert, Philharmonic and Symphony Orchestras.

         In 2014, holding on to her violin, she began her studies at the University of South Florida.

          in 2019, with her BA and Teaching Credentials in hand, still holding her violin, again, and signed a contract to teach violin to all the children in grades K-5 at Lincoln Elementary Magnet School in Plant City, Florida.  

          You invested in her education through the small community of Gifford, Florida, but the ripples of your dollars are now blessing children 120 miles on the other side of the state. 

Did you ever imagine that your dollars could stretch so far? 

Did you ever imagine your donation could help so many children stay

off the street and on the stage?   

You made the difference!

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The Founder’s Page
“Each One, Teach One”

                    By Rev. Dr. Crystal Bujol,                   November, 2019

January 1, 2003, at the Gifford Swimming Pool, I was facilitating my first Kwanzaa Program in Gifford, Florida. That’s when I met Annie Powell and our long -time friendship and community service alliance began. She said, “Our kids are being left behind! What are you going to do about that?” She showed me a photo of a little black boy dragging his cello at
the end of a long line of other musicians. She thought he was at the end of the line because he was being left behind. In reality, he was at the end of the line because he played the cello, often the last one to leave the stage. I had no choice but to get busy developing the Gifford Youth Orchestra.


The story about GYO history is amazing. Filled with beautiful people, dedicated teachers,
committed board members, generous donors, struggles and sprouts, phenomenal children and parents with dreams for better tomorrows who entrusted their children to Joan Haar and me. We didn’t know what was coming in 2019. We didn’t know that one day, one of our graduates would graduate from college and instead of teaching 40 or 50 children each week, she would teach nearly 80 children each day! How did that happen?




A 2016 study at the University of Southern California’s Brain and Creativity Institute found that musical experiences in childhood can actually accelerate brain development, particularly in the areas of language
acquisition and reading skills. Furthermore, according to the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation (NAMM Foundation), learning to play an instrument can improve mathematical learning and even increase SAT scores. That means all of Marissa’s 400 students are experiencing accelerated brain development! (see photo of Marissa and some of her children above)


Academic achievement isn’t the only benefit of music education and exposure. Music ignites all areas of child development and skills for school readiness: intellectual, social and emotional, motor, language, and overall
literacy. It helps the body and the mind work together. Exposing children to music during early development helps them learn the sounds and meanings of words. Dancing to music helps children build motor skills while
allowing them to practice self-expression. For children and adults, music helps strengthen memory skills.”

This means that all of Marissa’s 400 students are practicing self-expression and strengthening their memory


The Gifford Youth Orchestra just needs to stay the course. Continue doing what it does. Follow the Mission Statement. Prepare boys and girls to follow their dreams and prepare them for the goal of “Each One, Teach
One!” It is a perfect bridge to better tomorrows. “More Violins, Better Tomorrows.” More Music, More Melodies, Better Tomorrows. Keep them off the street and on the stage of a successful life!

And that, my friend, is the key to my devotion to this Gifford Youth Orchestra dream!

                              One Chair Left

Ho Hum!  One Day, I'll play like those Intermediate Students!

Laughing away the last minute jitters

Music Director, and Her Assistant and Her Concert Master Getting Ready for the Show to Go On!

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To provide education, experience, and training in various cultural and performing arts, including music, drama, dance, and the vocal arts for the youth of Gifford, Florida (and neighboring Indian River County communities), with a core focus on mastering stringed instruments.


More Violins ~ Better Tomorrows  - Is Our Slogan

Each One Teach One - Is Our Motto

Off the Street and on the Stage is our mission





We teach children to play the violin,

viola, cello, piano and use their melodious voices to

"Build Bridges for Better Tomorrows!"

100% of our high school graduates are either enrolled in --
or have completed their education at the college of their choice.


We currently offer lessons in:


Click photo to start the slide show




Welcome to the Gifford Youth Orchestra or GYO for short. We are extremely proud of the members of our Orchestra, who have dedicated countless hours to practice and rehearsals to improve their individual musical proficiency as well as the overall excellence of the Orchestra.


We have placed violins, violas and cellos in the hands of over 160 young people from 2003 to 2018. 


The Gifford Youth Orchestra changes lives. It gives children reasons to hope and to dream.  The GYO gives tools to children who want to step up and express life in the theater of life!  The GYO teaches children to decode the mysteries of symbols, lines, shapes by providing music education.   The GYO gives children skills to perform in front of audiences at banquets, celebrations, and on the stage.  The GYO spotlights children who are often  overlooked because they didn't have artistic and cultural opportunities in their early public school education.   The GYO says to those children, "Oh, Yes!  You, too, can!"  The GYO uplifts an entire community.   And, for that reason, We accept donations to provide instruments, instruction and sheet music to the members of our orchestra.   (See our list of what a student receives from a tuition scholarship.) Below you will find the names of others who believe in who we are and what we do . . . 


Major Donors to Gifford Youth Orchestra

Making it possible to provide tuition scholarships to fifty-seven 2019 students

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Contact Us

By US Mail:

P O Box 691166
Vero Beach, FL  32969


By Telephone:



Rehearsals and Classes at:

Gifford Community Center
4855 43rd Avenue
Vero Beach, FL 32967   


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19th- Spring Piano Recital (3 pm)January

·  5th-Cultural Council Performance at Riverside Park

·  19th-MLK Banquet @ GYAC (Dr. Bujol & Iva taking some Intermediates & Advanced Students)

·  27th- Winter Piano Recital, 3 PM at Emerson Center




·  29thrd- Annual GYO Student Production, Black History Program 2:00 pm at the Gifford Community Center 














August    ·  









Saturday, 7th ~ GYO 17th Annual Concert, 3 pm at the Gifford Community Center



GYO Student Awards Banquet at the Gifford Community Center 

                  ·  On or near Friday, December 20th, GYO Students perform for children at the Homeless Family Center

                  ·  Tuesday, December 24th, GYO Students Perform for children at the Hibiscus Society  

sday, December 8th, cemb


Tuesday, December  8th, GYO Student Awards Banquet at the Gifford Community Center 

                  ·  On or near Friday, December 20th, GYO Students perform for children at the Homeless Family Center

                  ·  Tuesday, December 24th, GYO Students Perform for children at the Hibiscus Society