/ Caroline Reiner-Williams ’06

“Keep creating music because it will always be there for you.” – Caroline Reiner-Williams ‘06

As a BYSO parent and alumni, as well as the Program Director of the Joy of Music Program in Worcester, Caroline Reiner-Williams ’06 knows the life-changing impact of music education. From her experience playing in BYSO, watching her own kids excel in their orchestras, and her work promoting accessible music education, she knows that playing music cultivates a special feeling of togetherness.

(Photo by Adam Richins)

Looking back, Caroline fondly remembers honing a persistent work ethic, opening her musicianship to a wide array of ideas, and forging lasting friendships as a cellist in BYSO. With the rare opportunity to play in an Opera at such a young age, Caroline realized the striking similarities between singers and instrumentalists—noticing that both use a form of sound to convey the emotion of a riveting narrative. She also fondly remembers going on tour, playing pieces she never thought possible in venues beyond her furthest imagination across Europe.

Achieving such a challenging musical repertoire alongside a tight-knit community is a feeling of accomplishment Caroline still carries with her to this day. While teaching cello for ten years after graduation, Caroline realized the richness BYSO brought not only to her own musical journey but her ability to bring that same feeling of accomplishment to others. Since BYSO, she also plays professionally in the Bangor Symphony Orchestra.

Caroline (center) performing as a BYSO student at Symphony Hall

Having such a great experience playing music among other young people, Caroline was inspired to become involved in a program that directly involved the youth of her hometown community. Working closely with the local high school and setting up roots in a low-income area of Worcester, the Joy of Music Program strives to break down any and all barriers for children to play music. “It’s a special place because people come here for joy,” Caroline describes.

This past weekend, the Joy of Music Program held its 32nd Annual Perform-a-thon, called the Jompathon, a marathon student recital that not only gives students a chance to celebrate their mid-year progress but helps raise money directly for the Joy of Music Program’s financial aid program. Additionally, in an effort to increase access to music education for all children in the Greater Worcester area, Joy of Music periodically offers drop-in classes to their early childhood music programs as well as free concerts in the Joseph & Jordan Shapiro Concert Hall. Caroline also recognizes a valuable social aspect to playing music, describing that “friendships develop and support the kids, keeping them motivated to stay involved."

Caroline playing a duet with one of her students (Photo by Troy B. Thompson)

BYSO holds a special place in Caroline’s heart as the window into an indescribable feeling of togetherness that is sparked by creating music together—a feeling so strong and so meaningful that she’s dedicated her career to cultivating it in her own community.


Are you, or someone you know, a BYSO alum with an interesting story or life update to share? Contact Jeanne Bedard, Development Associate, at or (617) 358-6119!