Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras

The Citizen Project

The Citizen Project is an innovative exploration of citizenship through music, spoken word, song and discussion presented by Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras.  “Citizen,” a new commissioned symphonic work, will debut at GBYO’s Winter Concert on March 4 at The Klein. Composed by award-winning Dr. Rex Cadwallader, “Citizen” will enthrall audiences with its originality, stunning sound and multimedia effects. The concert will feature GBYO’s Principal Orchestra along with the Connecticut Chamber Choir and Fairfield Warde Chamber Singers and multimedia and spoken word artist Jeffrey Rollins. Christopher Hisey will conduct.

The Citizen Project is a collaborative event that tasks the young musicians who comprise GBYO and the greater community to consider the idea of citizenship in our increasingly fractured world. This exploration of citizenship is not based on politics or party; it is an examination of what a modern citizen is and should be, and whether being a citizen can supersede affiliations of any kind for the greater good. The initial phase of the project will take place over the course of six months and includes the performance of a commissioned, original musical score including orchestral music, spoken word and a supporting choir. “Citizen” will debut at GBYO’s Winter Concert in March. The project will be documented by photographs, video and filmed interviews of GBYO young musicians and the adult artists involved in the project and the live concert will be recorded on audio and video.

Through The Citizen Project, GBYO will explore the shifting nature of the idea of citizenship as it relates to civic responsibility in a period of American history when communities, organizations, and social groups are increasingly siloed around their particular set of beliefs. Our intention is to use music as a common language to allow disparate groups to explore the idea of citizenship and what that really means—or can mean—in modern society. GBYO is based on principles of respectful dialogue, interaction and mutual learning among ensemble members, and exploring the idea of citizenship is a natural expansion of those values. Not only will the Citizen Project take our practice of music to a higher level, it will also give us a forum for exploring our role as practitioners of positive change makers and social collaborators. We will take our learning and the artistic collaborations that arise from it out to the larger non-music community as a way to promote interest in musical expression, music education and civics.

Click below to hear our student views on citizenship and how music can bring us together and make a positive difference in the world.

Click here to read the spoken word text of “Citizen.”