Gifford Youth Orchestra

More violins - Better Tomorrows

Gratitude to our Sponsors & Supporters

We have posted the thank-you notes from the young musicians just as they have been turned in to us (except that the last names of children under 12 have been omitted).  Yes, you might find some errors in grammar, spelling, or format ... but we think you will appreciate their sincerity.  However, as the musician grows in language arts, they can resubmit their thank-you, with their modifications and we will change the post.  For all we know, the musician may want to leave their note just as it is to watch their growth and development.  Check back periodically to see if they do ... and please check back often to read new notes.  Thank you for your interest in our young people!

If you ever gave us a donation, if you are ever going to give us a donation, you are appreciated!  All of your support of our program ... past, present, and future has given us hope for our future.  Take time and read our testimonies.  We will write more this year.

We wrote these from our hearts, and so did our parents.  Just as you have blessed us, we hope that blessing chases you down and lights up your life with balloons and happiness, and fun, always.  Thank you for all you've done for us!

The First and Most Important Thank-you is to the Progressive Civic League of Gifford, for approving this program to be offered to Gifford children and to the Gifford Community Center for Allowing this Youth Orchestra to hold Tuesday Classes in their Hallowed Halls. 



Thank you in advance

The Gifford Youth Orchestra

 501(c)3 Corporation since 2010

Thank you for your donation!

Credit/Debit Card or PayPal

Contact Us

By US Mail:

P O Box 691166
Vero Beach, FL  32969


By Telephone:



Rehearsals and Classes at Various Locations in Gifford and Vero Beach.    

Greetings to All of the GYO Supporters

Music affects the mind, body and spirit of my children. It has an affect on the mind by influencing positive mood and behavior with positive activity. It affects the body because music has a way of piercing your heart by seeing and hearing your children play; my children play from the heart. Music moves the spirit and allows my kids to delight in going to practice most every week and voluntarily practice at home. I really appreciate Mrs Haar and Mrs Bujol for what a brilliant opportunity they put together for the children of Indian River County.

Thank You
Audrika Walton

Being in the violin orchestra is fun. I appreciate all my teachers. Mrs. Crystal and Mrs. Haar. They are the best teachers in the world. They are very unique in different ways. There is no one like them. The violin is a good instrument to play. You learn more stuff on the violin. We love you Mrs. Crystal and we would never forget you Mrs. Haar.

6th Grade

“I think to myself, what a wonderful world”.

I would like to thank you for being such an intricate part of making our world wonderful through your giving to the Gifford Youth Orchestra. Your donations help keep youth off the streets and on the stage. Crossing bridges from poverty to prosperity, performing and meeting prominent people in prominent places all because of YOU.

Thank you for supporting these wonderful gifted and talented musicians.

Larrissa Thomas-Pelt

Dear Jim and Phyllis Parks

Thank you for your monthly donation to our scholarship fund. This generous donation will insure, on any given week, a student possibly two,  who may not have been able to afford a lesson, will be provided a lesson from the funds you have provided the Gifford Youth Orchestra.

Your monetary support will not only enrich students, but an entire community.

GYO Parents Association
March 11, 2013


My name is Tatiana Wallace and I have been in the Gifford Youth Orchestra for a little over two years. In that time I have learned to read music and play the violin. I really enjoy the group lessons. We learn a lot and we have fun doing it. Mrs. Haar is very nice teacher and always helps me when I need help. I always look forward to Tuesday, because that's practice night. I look forward to many years of learning and fun with the Gifford Youth Orchestra.

Tatiana Wallace 
10 years old  May 28, 2015

Thank you to the many generous donors that have given to The Gifford Youth Orchestra. Because of your giving, the cost of the music lessons is drastically reduced and for that I am truly grateful. My granddaughter has been in The Gifford Youth Orchestra for a little over two years now and I am amazed by how much she has learned. She loves her lessons and especially loves her teacher, Mrs. Haar. This is a wonderful program and I am so glad that Tatiana is able to be a part of it.

Alexis Krasotkin 
(Tatiana's Grandmother)
May, 2015

Dear Dr. Elaine Word,

Thank you so much for your generous monthly donation to Gifford Youth Orchestra.

As you may be aware, music is an amazing outlet for a child to be able to experience if given the opportunity.   It is with great appreciation that I offer my gratitude to you for allowing my daughter to be able to read and play music through the Gifford Youth Orchestra. With the generous support of people like you, you are creating a stable foundation for my daughter to thrive and continue to perform with this great organization that Crystal Bujol has created.

Thank you again, and we look forward to your continued support.

Jody Jefferson
July 30, 2014

To Whom It May Concern:

Thank you, for all you’ve done.  I like playing the violin.  It is fun.  At first, I was not very good at playing but now I am good at playing and that gives me joy.


Dear Ms. Crystal,

Thank you for helping to make a way for me to be a part of the Gifford Youth Orchestra.  I’m glad that there are lessons available to learn to play the cello.

Even though I’ve just started, I’m really enjoying the lessons and I am looking forward to a great musical experience with the program.  After I’m done with my lesson, I love to sit and listen to the advanced group play.  They sound soooo good.  I can tell that I’m going to have a lot of fun and learn a lot of things in the orchestra.  We appreciate you!

Darien Johnson

I would like to thank all those who have contributed, are contributing and will contribute in the future to the children of the Gifford Youth Orchestra. This program has benefited my children in ways that I can't even begin to explain. The program has helped me mold my children into young confident men. I know that having to perform in front an audience has helped my boys with the presence that they had at an early age. This program has given them experiences that at one piont were inconcievable to them and myself.

Becoming disabled and having to cut back from a two income family to a one income family was tramatic and lead me to believe that my children would miss out on most of the things I/we wished to provide for them. Then I saw a flier about GYO violin program. And from that day never looked back. The African Proverb that it takes a village to raise a child is very true, especially in this day and age with so many negative influences. But to any and all of you thank you for being part of my village and helping to mold my boys into men.

Thank You
Jobina Williams
GYO parent

Dear Sponsor,

I have been with the Gifford Youth Orchestra for over a year, and in that time I have learned how to play in harmony with other musicians, and I have learned some beautiful new songs.  I have also made some special friendships with the other musicians.  Mrs. Joan Haar, Sukesha Crosdale, and Mrs. Jenny Goldsmith have been great teachers, and I have learned a lot from them.

Thank you for supporting us.

Kaela Miller

Dear Supporters of the Gifford Youth Orchestra,

      I am proud to say that I have been in the Gifford Youth Orchestra (GY0) for about two years.  I started playing in the advanced orchestra last year.  I have  gained a lot; friends, opportunities to see and experience new things, and of course, become a way better musician.  It has taught me the importance of working together like a team and to be respectful of one another.  Beautiful music can be made when we all play together in harmony.

 Through this orchestra, I have played in front of different audiences at a variety of places.  Each audience made me feel welcome and “at home.”  I am so thankful that we just happened to meet Mrs. Bujol in the grocery store one day.   The GYO has certainly made a difference in my life.

Thank You,
Marissa Rollins

Violin is something that I could keep up. I may even be able to get a scholarship and play for singers.

Sometimes you can go through many challenges but eventually succeed. I think that doing violin is a good opportunity. I like my teacher and everyone else especially Mrs. Crystal.

Doing violin is something good it tickles my heart and makes me smile. The sound of the rhythm I play makes me want to try. Since violin is music I enjoy it even more.

Thank you for doing this kind people.

6th Grade

Dear Kindhearted Giver,

My kids have flourished because the GYO has given them an opportunity to shine in their community. I am the proud mother of three of their musicians. It gives me a good feeling on the inside when I am approached by people who has recognized my kids from their affiliation with the orchestra. They have entertained people from all walks of life. They have been in newspapers and magazines. It makes their teachers proud when they see good things about their students in the paper. So many times they have come home with an article that was given to them by their teacher.

For this and many other reasons, I would like to thank you for your investment in the Gifford Youth Orchestra. Without you, my kids and the many others would not have had the opportunity.

Thank you for being a true giver.


Larrissa Thomas-Pelt
May 30, 2015

I had never really played with a group of other musicians before.  I got to learn how to keep time within a song and play in harmony with other instruments.

Sam Miller
August 2012

Tamiya and her Mom Phylicia

Thank  you for helping my class, This is my first time ever playing an instrument.

 It’s hard, but it’s fun. I have made many new friends in my violin class and I like my teachers too. My teachers are nice and they help me learn how to play my violin and teach my how to Read the music on the paper. I am happy because I know all of my notes and how to play A few songs. My teachers told our class that people like you make these things possible for us, so I just want to say thank you.


To the wonderful people who willfully makes a difference,

I am a single parent of one of a new student who has  just become part of the Gifford Youth Orchestra. (See above photo of me and her - Tamiyah.)   During the few months of my daughter’s attendance in the youth  classes provided by the orchestra, my daughter has not only surpassed my  expectations, but she has far exceeded her own. The monies in which you so selflessly donate enables me to afford for her to be apart of such an incredible organization, I have watched my daughter eagerly attack the challenges of learning the violin and all that it includes. Not only does this organization teach her music, it  is also teaching her how hard work, practice and discipline reap unlimited successes and great rewards. Therefore, I would like to send a heart filled THANK YOU to your organization for your support of this program because without it some of the children who reap the benefits of your donations could never afford these life long lessons anywhere else. You are sincerely appreciated.

So, once again I thank you.

Phylicia Wiggins

 Lanaya and her grandmother, Brenda Speights

Dear Kind People,                              

 Thank you for your generous gift in support of the Gifford Youth Orchestra.  Its a wonderful blessing to teach the students all we can

about the violin.  We appreciate your enthusiasm for the task we have accomplished  before us. Because of the program my child has learned team work.                                                   

Thank you,
Brenda Speights
June 21, 2010

Thank you for the great times we've had in violin practice. Thank for the efford you made me put in this program. It realy helped me to git out of the house.  You guys help me stay clam and fosus.

De'Mond Flowes 

To the Gifford Youth Orchestra Sponsors,

I have been involved in the orchestra since I was seven years old.  It has been a big part of my life and I am proud of the accomplishments I have achieved.

Because of the program, I have become an improved student at school. It has helped me to learn how to set goals and plan my time better.  I have learned to compose, read and comprehend music as well as adapt my skills to other instruments.

I am one of the advanced students and I have had the opportunity to play at weddings, and other special occasions and events. Majority of our performances are done locally but one of the best performances, I've had so far, was traveling to LasVegas.

I have learned skills that will be helpful to me throughout my life.  I want to personally thank the sponsors of the Gifford Orchestra.

Javan A. Crosdale


Dear Ms. Bujol,

I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the Gifford Youth Orchestra program that you’ve founded in our community.  I applaud your diligence in serving our young people with a program that develops character in the areas of discipline, leadership, showmanship, and responsibility.

My three daughters (Brianna, Brittney, and Bethany), along with my son (Darien), are truly enjoying the program and  are becoming beautiful musicians.  They enjoy practicing together at home which brings an even stronger bond between them as siblings.  For this I am thankful and feel wonderfully blessed.

On a more personal note, I’m thankful for all of the financial support received for this program.  Being a widowed mother of seven children has been a challenging task to say the least.  But, by the grace of God and His goodness, we’ve been able to enjoy abundant life – and one facet of this has been experienced through participation in the Gifford Youth Orchestra.  My children are not only a musical blessing to me at home, but are a blessing abroad as well, whether it’s ministering at church or just playing for the grandparents around the fireplace.

Thank you so much for bringing such a blessing to us.  My prayer is that God provide you with every resource possible for the program’s continued success.

Peace, Love, & Blessings,
 Joy Johnson

The Gifford Youth Orchestra has been a lot of fun and has served as a good learning experience in the time that I have been a part of it.  When I joined the orchestra about a year ago, I had never really played with a group of other musicians before, so I got to learn how to keep time within a song and play in harmony with other instruments.  I also enjoyed being able to perform at several places with the orchestra.  Over all, it has been a very good experience.

Thank you for supporting us.

Sam Miller
Home School Student

Dear Violin Teacher

I am happy to play the violin. I appreciate what you did for me playing the violin helped me in so many ways. You're helping me get a education for playing the violin. Thank you for doing what you're supposed to thanks for that. Thanks for everything you done for me. I remember when I just started and I didn't know how to play the violin and Mrs. Haar helped me play it and she gave me a bow. Thank you for that.


3rd Grade

Dear Sponsors,

As a member of the Gifford Youth Orchestra I personally want to thank you for your contributions. I have been playing the violin for six years due to your generous contributions. I have developed in so many ways as a result of playing the violin, and as a tutor, I love to watch the younger kids develop. I can tell that they love playing the violin and also love gaining new experiences. The GYO has been around for ten years and a lot of people don’t know what it took to keep it here. Necessities such as rosin, tuners, music and instruments were and still are essential to helping the GYO grow. You may not know it, but your donations go really far and are very well appreciated. Once again thank you and God bless.

—Zipporah Pelt
May 2014

I’ve also learned some neat techniques such as sliding notes on certain songs and hitting notes an octave higher, by surprise, at the end of a song, to make it sound more interesting.

Briana Johnson 

I started out as a shy nine year old who had nothing to do besides homework and clean the house. Now, thanks to the GYO, I am singing in choirs, playing in a band, and starring in my school's musicals. My grades are more than excellent.  My life has really taken off! The change is shocking to me...and for that I'm thankful.

Jamari Williams


It has been such a pleasure being in the Gifford Youth Orchestra these past seven years. I've not only become a better musician, but an improved individual. Without the GYO I would not have been able to get private lessons and attend various music summer camps. Concerning how it helped transform me personally, I was able to learn so much from working in a tight knit group. Through exhilarating performances to difficult times in our personal lives, we all learned how to truly be there for one another. While, of course, it is very sad that my time with the Gifford Youth Orchestra is technically completed, I was so blessed to be a part of this wonderful program and can't wait to come back and volunteer.


Marissa Rollins
2015 GYO
Graduating High School Senior

This is the first day I got my bow, but I already knew how to use it. My sisters taught me at home.

Dear Ms. Crystal,

I learned how to play more songs on my violin. I got better at playing my violin and I learned how to play “Bingo” and I didn’t make one mistake. I have fun practicing my violin with my sisters. I pluck first and then I play with my bow. I also play the song two times. First I play it slow and then I play the song fast.  I’m going to be very good at playing the violin.

Thank you.


Dear Sponsors,

I was asked to write a note to tell you how our family has benefited from being a part of the Gifford Youth Orchestra this past year.  Many things come to mind, but at the top of the list would be the musical education they have received and the friendships they have made.

Both of my children have taken private violin lessons for several years, and they were progressing well.  Their violin teacher, however, stressed the importance of playing with other musicians, and when they joined the GYO we all noticed a difference in their skill level.

They had to learn to keep time with other musicians, play melody and harmony, and listen to a conductor.  This was frustrating for them at first, but after several months they were comfortable playing as a group.

A secondary benefit to playing with the GYO has been the friendships they have made.  Because this is a community group and not a school group, they have made friends with other children that they wouldn’t have otherwise met in their regular, daily life.  The common thread of playing beautiful music has brought them all together with the end result being that they encourage one another to try harder and play better.  All this and they still have fun.  That’s a good education. Thank you for your support.

Leslie Miller

This orchestra is a very excellent place to become something that you know is in you.Many may have no experience in the orchestra but as you go along you can become something no one knew was inside you.Me, myself jazlyn o'neal has a goal to play all instruments that come to mind. I KNOW IF I TRY MY BEST I CAN DO what ever my heart desires me to do.

This is an opportunity for musicians to experience what it is like to play in an orchestra with a friendly environment, according to information supplied by the Community Orchestra.

Like Schumann and Dvořák, who composed their famous cello concertos near the end of their creative lives, and Brahms, who composed his Double Concerto for violin and cello after completing all his other orchestral works, Elgar produced a Cello Concerto as one of his last major works. In his case, in fact, it was his very last, though he was only 62 years old when he completed it and he lived to be nearly 77. In his mid-seventies, after a dozen years or so in which he produced no music of consequence apart from some orchestrations of pieces by earlier composers, Elgar sketched a Third Symphony on commission from the BBC, and made similar starts on a piano concerto and an opera, but he took none of these projects very far.

 jazlyn o'neal

To whom it may concern,

I Lanaya Wesley would like to say, thank you for helping me with violin and letting me be in this program.

I really love being in violin with everyone, including Ms.crystal and Mrs.harr.

I appreciate all of the lessons, me having a chance to go out of state, just being able to learn how to play the violin, and being in the program. so i say thank you to everyone. And i send a special thank you to all the teachers that help teach the young and rarely old, to play the violin, and funders that help start the violin program.

your student,and friend,
Lanaya Wesley 


I am very honored to have the opportunity to play the violin, music has always been something I love, and I appreciate being able to expand on my education. Being in the GYO has taught me many things outside of just music. I have learned how to be a leader, how to take risks and be a team player.

Thank you for making my dream possible

Emerald Walton
11th Grade

I greatly appreciate my violin lessons and as I have matured I've grown to realize their effectiveness even further. Through challenging material I have been able to play more difficult music for solos, GYO, as well as at my high school. Thank you again to those of you who have invested in my musical education!                


Marissa Rollins
Age 17
April 22, 2014

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Generous:

Amazing! Is the word that describes your thoughtfulness in giving to the Gifford Youth String Orchestra.  There is no doubt that your gifts are an integral part of this organizations success.  If you are reading this, you have come to the right place to see your giving in action.  Thank you for being an Outrageously Wonderful &  Amazing supporter!


Larrissa Pelt
May 5, 2014

To the sponsors of the Gifford Youth Orchestra,

I'm going on my seventh year of being in the Gifford Orchestra. Without your support, I won't be playing today. If I wasn't playing today, I would probably be sitting at home watching TV. Music helped me to open up and not be afraid. I have a way to express myself and I 'm able to share it with the world.  I am now an accomplished player in the violin, viola, and the cello in my opinion.

With the many years of music camps and teachings provided, I am able to take my training and expand what can be done through me. So far, I've compose two songs myself and is in the process of composing gospel music on strings because there is hardly any. Playing string instruments is like my voice. I can sing through my instrument with the different styles, techniques, and sounds that I can make it's awesome.

I am more organized now since I have joined the orchestra.  I take the time to practice and being a part of the orchestra seriously so I had to learn to manage my time wisely, which helped me become a better player and student in school.  Also, there are some very nice benefits that come with being a skilled player. For example, I have been invited to play at churches, weddings, political events.  The big event was Las Vegas.

So, I want to say thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart because playing music is my life and I can not live without it. I didn't realize it until I got in the orchestra but I found that music is a part of me.

My desire is that you will continue to support the Gifford Orchestra. Words can't express properly want it has done for me and the others. Our stories are different but the results are same...we found our love for music.

Chantel Crosdale
Student Teacher for Viola and Cello Students 2009 - 2011

This next young lady tried to play with the orchestra when she was 5. It was a bit too much for her and for our program. The interesting note is that she waited 2 more years, until she was seven, and asked to join us again. For a child to hold this  program in their heart and mind for two years, we think is very special!

 That's me on the right. April 2010, when we first got our bows. I am with my friends Ariel and Tamiyah.

I love violin because it sound so sweet but all I just want to say thank you for letting me in violin class and thank you again.

Age 7

I am writing to say thank you for opening the opportunity for my  daughter, Alicia, to participate in the beginner’s violin class.  She has wanted to play since she was 5 ½ yrs. old & played in the orchestra, briefly.  Now, she is so excited to play again.  As a parent, I’m excited that she is able to read the notes and play then at the age of 7 yrs. old.  Thank you for the opportunity to appreciate the music and the instrument.

Theresa  Baxter

To the sponsors of the Gifford Youth Orchestra,

My name is Javier xxxx.  I am six years old and in the orchestra.  I am learning to the play the cello, at home with my sister, Chantel and I am learning to play the violin with Mrs. Haar.  I like being in the program because it is fun and my sisters and brother are with me.

Thank you for your support.


To the supporters of the Gifford Youth Orchestra:

I am the grandparent of two very active kids.  Several years ago I had them in the GYO.  Because of the many problems they have and I was having I decided to take them out.  One child has been labeled as ADD and the other as ADHD.  About a year ago, we attended a concert, and their spirits were renewed.  They asked Mrs Haar and Ms. Crystal If they could rejoin. To our delight the answer was yes.  But, before they were allowed to come back Ms. Crystal spoke with us.  One of the things we were told was that we had to make a firm commitment to the Orchestra.  That meant no missing practice and no quitting.

This week school is out, the first thing my grandson said when informed it was time to get ready for practice was, "I don't feel well."

I told him  "Oh no!  You made a commitment, let's go." Once we got to the class he forgot all  about not feeling well.

I realy see the benefits of the lesson the kids realy enjoy the class and they are learning so much. One of them plays the violin.  The other one would only rejoin the orchestra if she could play the cello.  Mrs. Haar decided to give her individual lessons at 3:30 before the orchestra classes officially started.

I thank you for you support for this program and for keeping it alive all these years until me and my kids got back in it.  I hope that you will tell others about how good it is for so many children, especially for children like mine.   This program has been so good for the both of them I am really happy that we rejoined the program.

And again a Big Thank You from Our family!

 Merrill Lynn Jones

Dear Supporters of the Gifford Youth Orchestra,

I am very happy that Marissa is a part of the Gifford Youth Orchestra.   She was just beginning to play the violin with the orchestra at school when we met Mrs. Bujol.  I am a single parent and Marissa is my only child.  I like to keep her involved in extracurricular activities whenever possible.  She has gained confidence in her ability to play.  Students that had been playing four years prior in the Gifford Youth Orchestra inspired her to practice often and they began to form bonds.

Thank you for providing finances that have been devoted to helping our children.  Playing in the orchestra has helped Marissa focus and have discipline in other aspects of her life.  Her grades at school are  good.  I am very excited when the students have opportunities to play for different events.  They learn and grow from these experiences.  It also provides enjoyment  and pride.

I look forward to the Gifford Youth Orchestra continuing, despite the state of the economy.   Again, thank you for making a difference in the lives of our children!   

Ms. Linda Rollins

To whom it may concern,

I am writing this letter to thank you for contributions to this organization that helped me become the person I am today. The environment is as relaxing as home ground and as professional as school, making it fun and educational all at once. My teachers in the Gifford Orchestra have helped me to take my love for music and channel it into my sound and expression.  So, now, the audiences can hear the works of the masters in harmony with the performer I have become.

This is what I believe to be the makings of true harmony.  Not only have we had violin lessons, but each of us students have learned many life lessons along the way with the help of our instructors and fellow classmates.

As an Alumnus of the Gifford Youth Orchestra's first graduating class, I grew up in the orchestra.  I learned that the role of a leader is to serve not just to boss around.  I was trained to be a soloist.  I was prepared to work as part of the team and family. I was encouraged to play like a beast.  And, in time, I learned to be a lady.

This orchestral Foundation is indeed a second foundation for the children. No, it is the underlying layer that compliments the most important foundation, which is created at home, and school. Therefore, I say as now, as a member of the teaching staff, when you help our students with your contributions, you are helping a many children, and in turn many families, to craft the honest, caring, and charitable citizens we need in the world today.

Mamie Edmond

To the Gifford Youth Orchestra Sponsors,

I want to sincerely thank you for your generosity in sponsoring the Gifford Orchestra.  My three children have been apart of the program since 2003.  They have learned and excelled in the music program so much so that they went to Las Vegas to play! In effect to this trip, my oldest daughter was able to obtain a music scholarship at the Universityof North Florida.

I am very happy that my children are apart of the orchestra and I see that they enjoy their experience as well.  They work hard and it shows in their performances.

As a parent, I am proud that our community has this program that supports the arts as well as positive growth in them that will play a part in their lives beyond the music.

With my sincerest thanks,
Mamie Regina Edmond