Genesee Valley Orchestra & Chorus

Genesee Valley Orchestra & Chorus

PO Box 177, Fairport, NY 14450

In 1976 Virginia Hogan, SSJ, the conductor of the Diocesan Festival Chorus in Rochester and music director for the Sisters of Saint Joseph Motherhouse Chapel, was asked by Perinton’s Clergy-Lay Council to prepare a concert for the town’s Bicentennial Celebration of the Independence of the United States. Calling on town residents, Virginia brought together 40 singers for this concert. Later that year a small orchestra joined the group to perform Handel’s “Messiah”, initiating our organization. Incorporated as the Perinton Community Chorus and Orchestra, the group grew from 40 singers to well over 130 singers and instrumentalists from not only Fairport, but also Rochester, Pittsford, Penfield, Victor, Greece, Webster, Honeoye Falls and other towns east of the Genesee. With representation from many towns in the Greater Rochester Area, the Perinton Community Chorus and Orchestra changed its name to the Genesee Valley Orchestra and Chorus (GVOC).

Virginia applied her skills not only to the musical direction of GVOC but also to organizational development and administration. Her efforts were key to GVOC’s growth and longevity. During the 1980’s and 1990’s GVOC travelled to Europe presenting concerts in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. In 2003, Virginia retired and Raffaele Ponti assumed leadership as GVOC’s music director until 2012, when Edward Schell became its interim conductor.  In 2014, Dr. Christoper Petit assumed leadership as GVOC's Music Director. In 2023, Dr. Yunn-Shan Ma was appointed Music Director.

Bonded in friendship, GVOC members delight in sharing their musical talents and versatility. GVOC has developed a repertoire ranging from spirituals to show tunes and folk songs to oratorios. The Genesee Valley Orchestra and Chorus is dedicated to providing opportunities for musical growth for its members and enriching the lives of area residents by presenting high quality musical performances throughout the Genesee Valley. The Genesee Valley Orchestra and Chorus aspires to be:

  • A thriving, diverse organization that reaches out to audiences of all ages, races, religions, cultures, and geographic regions within the Genesee Valley.
  • A model community performing group, committed to the highest standards of performance, collaboration with community partners, and sound organizational management.
Yunn-Shan Ma, Director of Genesee Valley Orchestra & Chorus
Our Director, Yunn-Shan Ma

Taiwan native Dr. Yunn-Shan Ma is active as a conductor, pianist, and educator in both America and Asia. Praised as being “extremely musical” and “having the gift of keeping the orchestra tight with her hands,” Ma’s range of conducting experience bridges the gap between professional, semi-professional, collegiate, and youth ensembles. With a passion for orchestral, operatic, choral, and contemporary repertoire, Ma has guest conducted select performances across Europe, Asia, and North America, including the Dohnányi Orchestra Budafok in Hungary; Cadaques Orchestra in Spain; North Czech Orchestra in the Czech Republic; Taipei Civic Orchestra; Evergreen Symphony Orchestra; and the Chin-Yun Choir in Taiwan. US engagements include the Symphoria; New York State Ballet; Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra; Genesee Symphony Orchestra; Greater Rochester Women’s Philharmonic; Geneva Light Opera; Syracuse Vocal Ensemble; Eastman School Symphony Orchestra; Eastman-Rochester Chorus; Eastman Chorale; and Eastman’s new music ensemble OSSIA. As co-founder and music director of the chamber vocal ensemble F-Sharp in Taipei, Ma led the ensemble to win the Gold Medal First Prize in the Sacred Music category, and the Gold Medal Third Prize for Mixed Choir category at the Taipei International Choral Competition in 2018. Both on and off stage, Ma is committed to bringing new light to existing musical works. She is equally eager to present live performances in an interdisciplinary manner, incorporating new media, visual content, and special themes to interact with musicians and audiences. At her recent productions with the RIT Philharmonic Orchestra, Ma has collaborated with specialists from the fields of AR/VR, Audio Engineering, Film and Animation, Illustration, Game Design, Modern Languages, and Museum Studies. A devoted educator, Ma has served as a frequent guest clinician and adjudicator at competitions and festivals. She has been a returning guest faculty of the Taipei International Choral Festival since 2015, led the All-County Orchestra Festivals, and gave guest lectures and conference papers on topics related to choral, orchestra performance practices, conducting studies and pedagogy, and DEI matters. Under her astute leadership, the RIT Philharmonic Orchestra was awarded an Honorable Mention in Orchestra Performance at the American Prize 2021, while Ma herself has been a finalist in the Conducting Competition and a semifinalist for the Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award for Conductors' Orchestral Programming. Ma received her Doctorate of Musical Arts from the Eastman School of Music with a full-scholarship, following conducting, piano, violin and vocal performance education at the National Taiwan Normal University and the pre-college division of the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna, Austria. Her current conducting positions include Music Director of the RIT Philharmonic Orchestra; Music Director of the St. Kateri Parish in Irondequoit NY; Music and Artistic Director of the Taiwanese Choral Society of Rochester; and the co-director and co-founder of the semi-professional chamber ensemble Mysterium. The able and inspiring Dr. Ma was appointed in 2023 to the music director position of GVOC.


CORONAVIRUS UPDATE - At this point in time, GVOC rehearses in-person, with optional masking. We strongly encourage updated vaccinations against coronavirus. We watch the science and will make future determinations as appropriate.

The chorus will rehearse beginning Tuesday, September 12, 2023 in the Johanna Perrin Middle School Chorus Room, 7-8:45 pm. The orchestra will begin rehearsing on Thursdays in late September, in the JPMS Instrumental Room, also 7-8:30 pm.

The orchestra will begin rehearsing for the season on Thursday, September 22, 2022 in the Johanna Perrin Middle School BAND/ORCHESTRA ROOM starting at 7pm and running through 8:30/9:00 pm depending on the needs for the rehearsal September through June.