Our 2019-2020 season marks Christina Morton’s 25th year teaching the young musicians of Bay Youth Orchestras of Virginia! Her presence has shaped the lives of thousands of students and molded the framework of our organization. We hope you will join us in celebrating her contributions to the musical fabric of our community! 

Sunday, November 24, 2019

  • Cocktail Reception Celebration, 3:00-6:00PM, The Historic Martin Mansion, 524 Fairfax Ave, Norfolk, VA 23507
  • Tickets $25. Reception, food, champagne toast, raffle, testimonials & live music provided by current BYOV members and alumni.

To RSVP and purchase your reception tickets, complete the form below.

Tickets for this event are no longer available online. Please call (757)618-1800 to inquire about ticket availability.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

  • Opening Concert, 7:00PM, Indian River High School Auditorium
  • Featuring the Bay Youth Strings, Concert & Symphony Orchestras and a world premier of a commissioned work by Todd Parrish in Christina Morton’s honor!

Concert tickets will be available online beginning November 1. To purchase your tickets, visit:

Christina Morton’s Story

It was the summer of 1994 when I received a call that would change my life. It was from Greg Barnes, a colleague from the Virginia Symphony as well as Norfolk Public Schools , from which I had retired to stay home with my children. The call went something like this, “ I know that you have recently received a masters degree in early childhood education so you may not be interested in this, but I had to ask because we think you are extremely qualified and might be interested. We have a position with the Bay Youth Orchestras as the String Orchestra conductor we would like to offer you.”

My children were 3 and 4 years old, I was looking at teaching preschool to add to my violin studio teaching and symphony playing. But this job was really more based on my life experience. I had been in orchestras continually since the 6th grade- youth orchestras in both Stamford, Ct and then Springfield, MA. At Northwestern University I was in the University Orchestra, Repertory Orchestra, Collegium Musicum Ensemble and during a summer, played with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. It didn’t take me long to think it over and accept the position.

This is a job that is my passion. It has allowed me to grow as a teacher, musician, conductor, leader, coordinator, performer, traveler, and person. During my 25 years I have not only setup chairs and stands but helped organized a tour to Germany and Austria, submitted grants and wrote press releases as Development Director, sorted music as Librarian for the string orchestras, presented a proposal to the Board of Directors for the Jr. String Orchestras formation, attended countless meetings and attended training session to grow as a leader. I have made mistakes but have grown from every season I have been involved with this organization in ways that no other job has offered me.

This job has also given me the opportunity to work with so many amazing musicians. I am not talking about just our music staff but the many students that have participated in Bay Youth Orchestras of Virginia over those 25 years, including my own children and many students from my own home studio. Music has the power to challenge us in ways we might never be challenged, especially in orchestra where the music is about the group and not just individuals. Helping students not only tap into that challenge but also exposing them to the great music of the masters of the classical repertoire has been such a joy.

Listening to students play an arrangement of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony for the first time is so much fun. Watching the layers of understanding emerge over months of practice and then to hear the final product on the stage is so exhilarating. Many parents tell me they wish audiences could hear the change from the first rehearsal to the performance because so much happens in between, that only parents who listen to all the rehearsals can appreciate. (My own parents love to listen to Bay Youth rehearsals whenever they are visiting in town.) 

My greatest wish from this celebration is that Bay Youth Orchestras of Virginia is strengthened financially to move into the future. It has always been this organization’s mission to provide membership to qualifying musicians regardless of their ability to pay. That means that scholarship funds always need to be available. Opportunities to travel, even within our state to visit university music programs as the String Orchestra has been regularly doing, expands the student’s understanding of how they can continue their musical life past their high school years. Again, to enable everyone to participate funding is required. Thank you to all who share my passion to help Bay Youth provide these amazing opportunities.

~Christina Morton, August 2019