About Us

WELCOME to our new Conductor and Music Director,  Paul Benson

Paul Benson was raised in the pastoral town of Willmar, Minnesota. He has been playing the cello since 2004. During his college years, he spent time in the University of Minnesota Symphony Orchestra, the University of Minnesota Marching Band, his brass house band, DJing at Radio K, and considering himself an adequate emcee. Studying under Tanya Remenikova, he gained more confidence as a musician. Studying conducting under Dr. Timothy Diem and Dr. Emily Threinen has also cemented his confidence as a conductor. Since then, he has taught orchestra and band in Sartell, MN and in and around the Twin Cities. He plays the cello in the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra. His favorite composers are J.S. Bach, Steve Reich, Ludwig van Beethoven, Giovanni Bottesini, and Igor Stravinsky.  Currently married to his wonderful wife of almost 2 years, he has one cat named Legolas and enjoys playing board games, video games, podcasting, and reading in his spare time.

General Manager

Deonne Gray

Board of Directors

Fritz Bogott, Chair; Sarah Sword, Secretary; Elise Eslinger, Treasurer; Katherine Canon; Laura Geissler; Carolyn Joyce;  Katie Casson; Michelle Vosejpka; Natalie Kruger and Heather Olivier, Northfield School Liasons; Paul Benson, Music Director


CVYO was born after a one day workshop held in April of 1997 for students of music teachers in Northfield and surrounding rural communities. Interested parents initiated the orchestra as an enrichment experience for their children, modeling it after the youth orchestras that flourish in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Mankato and Rochester.

In addition to providing an enriched musical environment for experienced string players, CVYO is designed to give those students who would otherwise have no orchestral opportunities the chance to participate in such an activity with their local peer group.

CVYO was originally envisioned as a single orchestra, but due to the wide response of string players — often with widely varying ability levels — it was decided that two orchestras–Haydn and Mozart–could provide a better atmosphere for each student’s artistic growth and personal development. The Bach Orchestra was introduced for our most advanced players.

There are currently about fifty students from grades 4-12 who participate in CVYO. Members have included players from the communities of Northfield, Faribault, Cannon Falls, New Prague, Montgomery, Farmington, Red Wing, Lakeville, Hastings, Owatonna, Prior Lake, Randolph, Nerstrand, Kenyon, and Dundas.