State of the Arts: Texas Youth Orchestra Trombones in the PIMF Spotlight!

Who knew that the Lone Star State was such a hotbed of trombone talent?

Two of the three participants in PIMF Online’s Virtual Master Class this week hail from the great state of Texas. Andrew Griñé of El Paso and Kimberly Nelson of Euless will perform for Matthew Vaughn, Co-Principal Trombone of The Philadelphia Orchestra, and a worldwide virtual audience Friday evening.

Mr. Vaughn himself is Dallas native and a veteran of the San Antonio Symphony and a former professor and member of the faculty brass quintet at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Texas is a trove of trombone virtuosity!

Kimberly is a standout in the instrumental program at Colleyville Heritage High School, and a member of the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, a broad and diverse program almost half a century old, now serving over 450 young musicians in eight ensembles.

From middle to high school, the program offers the Young Performers Orchestra for strings aged seventh graders and younger; the Dallas String Ensemble, all 9th grade or younger; and the Sinfonietta, which tops out at 11th grade. For wind, brass and percussion players who are high school seniors or younger, GDYO levels include the Wind Symphony, the advanced Philharmonic, and the elite eponymous Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra.

There’s even a Flute Choir and GDYO Jazz, a comprehensive jazz program. There’s so much going on that Texas can’t fit it all – over the years, GDYO has performed in multiple countries in Europe, as well as in China and Hong Kong.

Andrew is a member of the El Paso Symphony Youth Orchestra, the largest education program of the El Paso Symphony, serving over 300 students from across the region annually.

Like so many performing arts organizations, EPSYO is proceeding in a virtual format for the time being, and currently conducting virtual auditions for placement in one of its four ensembles: the String Philharmonic for beginning-level string players; the String Ensemble for advanced beginning and intermediate string players with some orchestra experience; the Symphony for intermediate string, woodwind, brass, and percussion players; and the Orchestra for the most advanced high school and college players, where Andrew performs.

“When you go through times of stress, there’s nothing like music to change your mood or give you something else to do,” EPSYO Executive Director Ruth Ellen Jacobson told El Paso Inc. just last week. “The satisfaction of playing beautiful music for yourself or someone else is incredible. There are a lot of benefits from playing an instrument – any instrument. Even if a student goes on to other things in life, they always have the music. That’s a lifetime ability that they can always use join a band, an orchestra, or just play for their own enjoyment.”

This week, a pair of Texan trombonists play for another — and for music lovers across cyberspace– through