Did You Know There is a Gifford, FL Youth Orchestra?


Plato said: “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”

The slogan of the Gifford Youth Orchestra is: “More Violins – Less Violence – Better Tomorrows.”

The moto is: “Each one Teach one.”

The Teen Theme is: “Off the Street on the Stage.”

The Gifford Youth Orchestra is a community-based 501(c)(3) college of performing arts for children, where children learn to play the violin, viola, cello, piano and melodious voices.

According to its’ website, “The Gifford Youth Orchestra gives tools to at-risk children who face the risk of remaining in a cycle of poverty. The GYO gives children a reason to hope and to dream. The GYO keeps children off the street and on the stage. The GYO spotlights children who are often “pigeon-holed” as being worthless, less than, and a threat to society. The GYO says to those children, “Yes you can!” The GYO uplifts an entire community. And, for that reason, we accept donations to support our life giving cause.”

Gifford Youth

Gifford Youth Orchestra’s graduates are indeed having better tomorrows.  100 percent are either enrolled in – or have completed their education at the college of their choice.  More than 118 students, ages six to 18, have studied, practiced and performed classical music and other performing arts.

A five-year University of California study found significant differences between kids who learned to play instruments than those who didn’t.  Key differences for those who learned to play musical instruments were:

  • Sound processing
  • Language development
  • Speech perception
  • Reading skills

According to Nadine Gaab, of the Laboratories of Cognitive Development at Boston Children’s Hospital, “while many schools are cutting music programs and more and more time on test preparation, our findings suggest that musical training may actually help to set up children for a better academic future.”  Researchers found that between early music training resulted in improved “executive functioning.”

Executive functions (EF) are cognitive processes that enable people to quickly process and retain information, regulate their behaviours, make good choices, solve problems, plan and adjust to changing mental demands.”

Austin, wrote in Conordini Musical Instruments on 1.1.2015 that “improved memories have been seen in those that are actively involved in music, with those that play violin coming out as some of the higher performers.  In fact, research into Alzheimer’s disease is looking at how playing music from a young age can improve long term memory and ability to ward off the disease.”

Professor of psychiatry James Hudziak of the University of Vermont College of Medicine said the findings bolstered his hypothesis that a violin might help a child battle psychological disorders even better than a bottle of pills.  He said: “We treat things that result from negative things, but we never try to use positive things as treatment.”

A study published in the International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, people who know how to play musical instruments will less likely to suffer from dementia.

According to connollymusic.com, in addition to educational enhancements, playing the cello helps develop the areas of your brain concerned with memory recall. Findings were reported at the 2013 Neuroscience Conference in San Diego, and detailed how the brain responds to music training, particularly when music education is started before the age of seven. This doesn’t mean that adult learners can’t benefit, it just states that the maximum advantages are achieved when training begins before age seven.



Gifford Youth Orchestra

One thing, for sure, is that multiple studies have found playing a musical instrument allows the brain to relax and surprise anxiety, stress and depression.  It allows students to focus on the task at hand and block out whatever is on their mind.

Gifford Youth Orchestra lessons only cost $ 10.00 a month/$ 120 a year on Tuesdays.  Members of the orchestra will be loaned a violin if needed.  Violin lessons are for students from third to 12th grade.

Violin classes are held every half hour from 2:30 – 6:30 p.m.  The Youth Orchestra rehearses from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Classes and rehearsals are held at the Gifford Community Center located at 4855 43rd Avenue, Vero Beach, FL.

Students may sign up any Tuesday at 4:00 p.m.  Just stop by and ask for Iva or an enrollment form.  New student enrollment fee is $35 per student.

The Youth Orchestra even offers voice lessons for students ages eight to 18, as well as piano lessons for students ages three to 18.

Interested persons may contact Iva Powell, Director of Programs, by calling 772-563-7072 or emailing ivapowell90@yahoo.com.  All other inquires please call the GYO office at 772- 213-3007.

If you’d like to make a donation to GYO, please mail your tax deductible donation to the Gifford Youth Orchestra at P.O. Box 691166, Vero Beach, FL 32969.

You may also make a donation using this link:




One thought on “Did You Know There is a Gifford, FL Youth Orchestra?

  1. This is the most fantastic story about the Gifford Youth Orchestra I have ever read! The detailed support of why this program can be so helpful to young children is fascinating. I appreciate that you took time to “get to know” us, and time to get to know why we do what we do! Thank you for promoting our services to your readers. We are also always looking for volunteers and they don’t have to “know” music, just love children. As you said, contact Iva! She will know just what you can do if you have the time and the heart to join us.

    Crystal Bujol

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