The Juneteenth celebration in Gifford, Florida on June 19th, was not only the first Community Collaboration celebrating this historic event, but also marked the first appearance from the adults enrolled in the Gifford Youth Orchestra to participate in a program, live on stage. Ms. Annette Reason opened the celebration with her fantastic voice as she sang what is called, the Negro National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing!” The audience showed their appreciation for her presentation with applause, shouts of amen, whistling, and other cheers. But, what the audience didn’t know is that she, along with other adults, are now Gifford Youth Orchestra Tigers along with the 57 children enrolled in violin, viola, cello, piano, and vocal coaching classes.
Ms. Reason, who has been serving our youth at the Gifford Youth Achievement Center for many years, is the first adult to enroll in the GYO vocal coaching program under the guidance of Ms. Lynn DiMenna. We don’t have uniforms for the adults, yet, so many people didn’t know that she was representing the GYO. But rest assured, next time she, or any of the adults in the program perform, they will be proudly wearing the Tiger (GYO’s logo) on their chest, as the GYO has expanded to include adults!
It was a fabulous event featuring many speeches and performances from our community. The GYO appreciates every opportunity to participate in our events, and are grateful now, for the participation of our adults in the orchestra. Thank you Annette for being the “Jackie Robinson” in the organization and thank you for opening the door so other senior citizens (or near seniors) can enroll in this new program.
For more information on the GYO and its programs for adults and children, visit the GYO website: www.gyotigers.org.