• Olivia-on-violinAfter several months of contemplating moving to Florida, we began researching homes on-line. With family in Ormond Beach, the search was on. However, while looking for schools and activities, I came across the Flagler Youth Orchestra with Jonathan May as its conductor and Cheryl Tristam as its administrator. After several emails to Cheryl and many properties, we settled on one in Palm Coast. The deciding factor, was indeed, FYO.
    Our oldest daughter Olivia was introduced to the violin in the third grade at Mattapoisett Center School in Massachusetts. She played throughout the year with her classmates and continued in private lessons over the summer. Just after our vacation to Florida , July 2007, she performed at an outdoor concert at Shipyard Park. It was one of my proudest moments. One the Mastercard commercials call priceless…

    I knew then that she was hooked on music and so were we.

    After moving to Palm Coast in December of 2007, Olivia jumped right into classes at FYO. She had a rocky start but came around by the end of the 2008 season. She even started teaching her younger sister to play in her spare time.
    Both girls continued to play together in the program for the next two years. Olivia worked diligently to make her way into the top orchestra under Jonathan May. She, along with all the others, were devastated by his passing. She and her sister continued to grow under the direction of Caren Umbarger. They excelled in school, proving all the experts correct in the correlations between students who study music and better school performance. Priceless to any parent raising young adults in our society today.
    Last year, Cheryl arranged for the top orchestra, known as the Harmony Chamber Orchestra, to perform for seniors at area nursing homes and facilities. I consider this one of my favorite days as a volunteer for FYO. The faces on those folks enjoying the beautiful music our children performed. I know every other parent attending agrees with me. Such a gift! I wished the families of those seniors could be there to see the toe tapping and swaying in their seats.

    Fast forward to this May…after almost six years, Olivia is still playing strong. We often talk about her music and its impact on her. She comments about moving to Florida, being part of FYO and now a band member at FPCHS where she plays the clarinet and trumpet. She tells me how important her music is in her life and how she thinks that moving here with both programs has made her musical experience so full.

    After leaving the final concert last week, I couldn’t help but think how valuable the FYO has been to this family as a whole. I have happily volunteered for every concert and however Cheryl has needed me for classes Mondays and Wednesdays. It consists of a network of families who place real value on what this program has to offer and values what they are able to do in return. I am happy to call many of these parents my friends and I hope they feel the same.

    Today, Olivia began her preparation for Chamber Music Camp which will conclude with a performance after just five classes along with practice at home. She just started on the viola. She discussed her struggles, but I know with this program behind her and her instructors with her, she will succeed. She will spend the summer away at band camp at FSU and study with Caren on the viola. I look forward to what she will be able to accomplish in the coming year. I only wish every person in our community could share in the benefits of this program. It’s such a gift to our young adults in our area. It provides a unique experience for our older population as well. It was the deciding factor on making a home in Palm Coast. FYO for this family is a priceless gift.

    With Gratitude & Peace,
    Sharon H. Pinard, Olivia’s mom and FYO Volunteer