The Willard Daetsch Youth Outreach Program

The CCO’s successful Youth Outreach Program visits the schools in and around Tompkins County each spring to provide a classical music experience for young students – right in their own classrooms.  Willard Daetsch, a former Board member and longtime dear friend and supporter, had the idea that inspired the creation of these school visits and in August of 2012, the CCO re-named the program in his honor.

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In March 2015, the CCO was honored to be chosen from a diverse range of applicants as one of the recipients for the 2015 Yale Distinguished Music Education Partnership Award.

For almost 20 years, an ensemble of musicians from the CCO has visited second-grade classrooms over a six county area.

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The program consists of three phases:

  • Phase 1: A docent musician from the CCO visits each school to introduce the second grade classes to the theme for the year and prepare them for the upcoming visit of a small ensemble.
  • Phase 2: The small ensemble of CCO musicians then engages the children in an introduction to the oboe, viola, violin, and cello. They talk about music as a vehicle for expression and introduce the children to musical concepts.
  • Phase 3: The program culminates in a visit to Ithaca High School’s Kulp Auditorium where the 700 second-graders attend a one hour concert given by the award-winning Ithaca High School Orchestra. Last year, the children enjoyed selections from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Pictures at an Exhibition, The Great Gate of Kiev by Mussorsky, New World Symphony Finale by Dvorak, Barber of Seville, and pieces by Rossini.

By familiarizing students with instruments before they have the opportunity to participate in the school’s instrumental instruction program, the CCO hopes to promote individual music study in elementary school and beyond. The CCO is always ready to share our passion and knowledge about music with kids of any age, and we appreciate the collaborative spirit of the schools and the individual teachers – this program wouldn’t be the success it is without their active involvement.


[in small centered type] This program is made possible by a generous grant from the Park Foundation.


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