New Jersey Youth Symphony Celebrates 40th with Carmina Burana at NJPAC May 19

New Jersey Youth Symphony 2019 (photo courtesy of Wharton Arts)

The New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS) will honor a milestone with its 40th Anniversary Concert and Gala on Sunday, May 19 at 3:00 p.m. at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center located at 1 Center Street in Newark.

Under the baton of Helen Cha-Pyo, the celebratory concert will showcase the youth symphony’s extensive talent with Carl Orff’s iconic Carmina Burana. Described as “one of the most richly tuneful choral pieces of modern times,” the orchestra will be joined by soprano Mia Pafumi, tenor Theron Cromer, and baritone John-Andrew Fernandez as well as the Newark Boys Chorus, J.P. Stevens High School Chorus, Newark Academy Concert Choir, New Providence High School Chorus, Ridge High School A Cappella Honors, and the Somerville High School Chorus for a show-stopping performance by an ensemble of nearly 500 performers.

Says Artistic Director and Conductor Cha-Pyo,”I anticipate this concert to be what post-Millennials would call an ‘epic event!’ When nearly 500 high school musicians from 13 different counties of NJ take the stage at NJPAC to perform Carmina Burana, it is truly an extravaganza! I am also thrilled to present a 145-member Festival String Orchestra of our elementary and middle school-age string players assembled just for this concert. Please come and experience the transformative power of music shared by our young musicians that is guaranteed to be larger than life!”

The combined festival string orchestra made up of NJYS Sinfonia, Concertino Strings, Primo Strings, and the Paterson Music Project Concert Orchestra will perform works by Jenkins and Rimsky-Korsakov. Also joined by Newark Boys Chorus and the Paterson Music Project Chorus, the Festival String Orchestra will give a world premiere performance of Three Poems of Langston Hughes by Jack Bender, a newly commissioned work to commemorate the New Jersey Youth Symphony’s 40th Anniversary celebration. 

Helen Cha-Pyo Conductor_ photo courtesy of Susan Peterson

Gala honorees include Mayor of Paterson Andre Sayegh and First Lady Farhanna Balgahoom Sayegh and WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM which is also celebrating its 40th anniversary. Concert tickets are $20, $35 and $50 available online at Gala ticket price includes preferred seating at the concert available at For more information, call 908-790-0700. 

The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts’ mission is to provide the highest quality performing arts education to a wide range of students in a supportive and inclusive environment, where striving for personal excellence inspires and connects those we teach to the communities we serve.

Wharton is New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts education center serving over 1,500 students through a range of classes and ensembles including the 15 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Symphony, which serve 500 students in grades 3 – 12 by audition. Beginning with Out of the Box Music and Pathways classes for young children, Wharton offers private lessons, group classes, and ensembles for all ages and all abilities at the Performing Arts School. With the belief in the positive and unifying influence of music and the performing arts and that arts education should be accessible to all people regardless of their ability to pay, Wharton teaches all instruments and voice and has a robust musical theater program. Based in Paterson, New Jersey, the Paterson Music Project is an El Sistema-inspired program of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts that uses music as a vehicle for social change by empowering and inspiring children through the community experience of ensemble learning and playing.

Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts is located in Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Paterson, NJ and reaches students from 10 counties. All of Wharton’s extraordinary faculty members and conductors hold degrees in their teaching specialty and have been vetted and trained to enable our students to achieve their personal best.