Gifford Youth Orchestra

More violins - Better Tomorrows

Thank you for your support!


A Note from Co-Founder Dr. Crystal Bujol...

         From the bottom of my heart, thank you! Your support tells me you believe in our mission to bring music education to at-risk children, and through it to give them a foundation that will help them in all their other classes and in their lives beyond school.  

         The achievements of these children make us all proud, but they have been made possible by your partnership.   The contributions your help has made possible are even more meaningful when it comes to the Gifford community itself.  Recently I asked a life-long resident what she thought the GYO meant to Gifford.  Here is what she wrote in response:

         This is what your involvement has helped achieve.  Please continue to keep us in your prayers and in your charitable horizons -- especially at this time of year.


Warmly and with gratitude,

       Crystal Bujol

*Before it was closed, Gifford High School was one of the community’s most unifying entities.  Its student mascot was the Tiger.  As a sign of both homage and inspiration, we adopted Gifford High’s mascot as our own. Our students, too, are Gifford Tigers.



When you decide to join any one of the Circles of Support described below, please click on PayPal or mail your check to the Gifford Youth Orchestra at: 

P. O. Box 691166, Vero Beach FL, 32969. 



The Gifford Florida Youth Orchestra’s  Circles of Support Honors the Historical Building Blocks by People of Color to American Music.  Would you like to add your name in one of these 2018-2019 building blocks?



Support GYO with a donation!

Click here to donate securely online.


Thank you for your donation!

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   

Aaron Dworkin Circle – Gifts up to $49.99

Dr. Aaron Dworkin is an accomplished acoustic and electric violinist, and a spoken-word and visual artist. Born in New York, his biological father was of Irish descent and his biological mother was African-American, while his adoptive family was Jewish. His adoptive mother, an amateur violinist, sparked his early interest in music. He is the Founder and President of The Sphinx Organization, the national arts organization that transforms lives through the power of diversity and the arts. Dr. Dworkin was President Obama’s first appointment to the National Council on the Arts.



Regina Carter Circle: Gifts between $50 and $99.99

 Regina Carter is a classically trained jazz violinist who began studying the violin in her hometown of Detroit at age four. She is known as the most significant jazz violinist since Jean-Luc Ponty of the late '60s. As a teenager, Regina took master violin classes from Itzhak Perlman and Yehudi Menuhin. As a gesture of solidarity for America, after the September 11th attacks, the city of Genoa, Italy invited her to perform on Niccolo Paganni’s Il Cannone Guarnerius, a 1743 violin. She became the first jazz musician to play this priceless instrument



Beethoven Circle: Gifts between $100 and $249.00

German born Ludwig Van Beethoven is considered Europe’s greatest classical music composer. His ancestors were Moors, North African Muslims who conquered parts of Europe and made Spain their capital for over 800 years. One of Beethoven's homes in Vienna, Austria, the music capitol of Europe at the time, was called "the Schwarzspanierhaus," the "House of the Black Spaniard." Beethoven was one of the most innovative and amazing musical geniuses, ever. His deafness made that genius even more so. His music reveals a cultural connection to his African ancestry. He was the first composer to invigorate European classical music with an inherently African rhythmic trait.    



Joseph Bolonge, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges Circle: Gifts between $250 and $499.00

Bologne, born on a small West Indian island, the only child of a black slave and her white master, became one of the most accomplished men in 18th century Europe. He is remembered as the first classical composer of African ancestry. Bolougne was a virtuoso violinist and conductor of the Paris Symphony Orchestra. Known as the "Black Mozart," he was the first musician of color to play for royalty. Before launching his career in classical music, he won fame as one of the best fencers in Europe. He also served as Colonel of the Legion Saint-Georges, the first all-black European regiment during the French Revolution.  



William Grant Still Circle: Gifts between $500 and $999.99

Still began violin lessons when he was 15, and composed music at 16. He listened to his Grandmother’s plantation stories and included her spirituals in his compositions. Still was the first African American to conduct a major symphony orchestra in the U.S, directing the Los Angeles Philharmonic in his compositions at the Hollywood Bowl in 1936. In 1955 he became the first Afro-American to conduct a major symphony orchestra in the Deep South, the New Orleans Philharmonic at Southern University. His opera "Troubled Island" was the first Afro-American opera to be produced by a major U.S. company. It was performed at the City Center of Music and Drama in New York City in 1949 and televised over a national network. He wrote over 150 compositions including operas, ballets, symphonies, chamber works, and arrangements of folk themes, especially Negro spirituals, plus choral and solo vocal works.



Yo-Yo Ma Circle: Gifts between $1,000 and $2499.99

Born in Paris, Chinese virtuoso cellist Yo-Yo Ma was a child prodigy who began performing at age five, and performed for President John F. Kennedy at age seven. He studied at the Juilliard School and Harvard University. He established the ‘Silk Road Project’ to promote the study of the cultural, artistic and intellectual traditions along the ancient Silk Road trade route. He plays a 1733 Montagnana cello nicknamed "Petunia". Yo-Yo Ma's 75 music albums have earned 15 Grammy awards.



Nokuthula Ngwenyama Circle: Gifts between $2,500 and $4,999.99

The 2014 President of the American Viola Society, Ms. Ngwenyama is a solo violist, recitalist, and chamber musician of Zimbabwean and Japanese descent.   Born in California, she came to international attention when she won the Primrose International Viola Competition and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions at age 17. She received the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1998. As a Fulbright Scholar she attended the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris and received a Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard University.

Duke Ellington Circle- Gifts between $5,000 and $9,999.00

Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was a self-educated American composer, pianist, and jazz orchestra bandleader who gained international recognition through his orchestra's appearances at the famous Cotton Club in New York. Ellington composed thousands of celebrated scores over his 50-year career -- work that has stood the test of time. Pioneering the big band classical jazz world, many of his compositions included elegant parts for violin and viola such as ‘Duke Ellington's Jazz Violin Session,’ an album his band recorded in 1963. A musical giant among giants, Ellington is generally considered to have elevated jazz to an art form equal to other traditional music genres.




Frederick Douglas Circle for Gifts over $10,000.00

Born a Maryland slave in 1818, Douglass taught himself to read and write, escaped to New England, became a preacher, newspaper publisher, bank president, diplomat, musician, fiery orator, and author of hundreds of books and speeches. He spoke seven languages, was an advisor to President Abraham Lincoln, and served as the American Minister to Haiti. This Renaissance man’s greatest achievements, however, were in the political arena as an eloquent advocate of abolition, women’s rights, and racial justice. Called "The Father of the Civil Rights Movement," his life is 

memorialized at his home in Cedar Hills in Washington, D.C., where the rooms are filled with mementos of Douglass’ extraordinary life, including his beloved Stradivarius!

Photo at right is of Frederick Douglass teaching and his grandson, Joseph Douglass, who became a world-class violinist, performing for many presidents at the White House. A symbol of what we hope our students will do, as well — passing on the violin through the generations