Full Circle: One Youth Orchestra Alumni's Journey from Student to Instructor

Updated: Feb 15

Matt Gates became a member of the Youth Orchestra of Greater Columbus (YOGC) as a high school student. Now, he's returned to YOGC as an instructor. On the eve of their 2021-22 season opener, we corresponded with Gates to learn about his personal experience with the organization and how it's shaped his life.


Read on to learn more and make plans to attend YOGC's season opener this Tuesday!


Q: What was your experience like as a student in YOGC?


A: My experience as a student in the YOGC was, simply put, a new world that I had never known I wanted to be part of. From the first rehearsal, I was hearing sounds I had never heard before, I was learning about composers and styles that I had not experienced only playing the trumpet in my high school band. I was building bonds with my fellow musicians as we practiced toward a common goal. I was beyond ecstatic to be at every rehearsal and was a little sad when the rehearsal was over.


Q: You've moved into the position of being the brass coach. What was that transition like?


A: The transition was actually very easy. The YOGC staff were all very helpful in my transition and the students that I am currently working with were both talented and eager to learn. As an educator, that makes my job immensely easier. We could get right into the music and get to the heart of why the students are there.




Q: Why are you passionate about YOGC?


A: I am passionate about the YOGC because of what it offered me and my orchestra friends during our time in the orchestra. It offers students a place to learn, grow, to expand their minds, to find something they can throw their passion into and experiences that they will carry with them long after they have left the orchestra.


Q: What's your favorite memory of your time with YOGC?


A: My favorite memories in the orchestra were hearing and seeing the hard work of the orchestra coming alive on stage. I knew how hard we worked to practice our music and how diligently we worked in rehearsal. There was something very inspiring to be on stage experiencing the culmination of our efforts. YOGC is an absolute gem in the community. There is a sense of community that welcomes musicians from all backgrounds, and invites them to share in the gift of music. ◾️


If You Go:


What: The Halloween Spook-tacular When: Tuesday, October 26 at 7:30 PM Where: The Columbus Georgia Convention and Trade Center Cost: FREE! More information...