The YOUTH ORCHESTRA OF BUCKS COUNTY, Pennsylvania (YOBC) was founded in 1991 with the sponsorship and support of Bucks County Community College. YOBC creates opportunities for young musicians to achieve artistic excellence through enriching classical music experiences. Students come to YOBC with a special love for music and a desire to develop their musical talent. YOBC provides these students with advanced musical training to enhance and supplement their school programs. Since its debut season the organization has grown from a single, 60-member ensemble to 13 ensembles with nearly 300 young musicians.
In March 1991, Carol Gimbel, an eighth-grade violist, returned from BCMEA String Day, where approximately 100 young string players gave up a Saturday to participate in an open rehearsal and performance. Carol, who had been traveling to Princeton each week for an additional orchestral experience, asked, “If there are so many young string players in Bucks County, why isn’t there a youth orchestra here?” Her father, Joseph Gimbel replied, “Why don’t we start one?” Carol called Mr. Robert Loughran, who had conducted BCMEA County Orchestra in 1991, and told him of their plan. She and her father invited several other music teachers in the area to provide input and in April of that year they agreed that a youth orchestra was a viable idea, that the Gimbels would organize it, and that Robert Loughran would be its conductor. To date, YOBC has provided opportunities for nearly 2,000 students in Bucks and surrounding counties.