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Youth Orchestra Program Events

The following info refers to a typical pre-COVID-19 YOP season. The 2021-22 season is temporarily modified in accordance with obligating safety protocols.

Weekly Rehearsals

Orchestras meet once a week from mid-September through April for practices ranging from 1h to 2.5 hours in length for different levels of orchestras. The weekly practices are taking place at the Conrad Centre for the Performing Arts in downtown Kitchener for the younger division groups and at the Faculty of Music of Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo for Youth Orchestra.

Sectional Rehearsals

Periodically the orchestras split into a number of smaller groups according to types of instrument (sections, i.e. viola section – all viola players only or woodwinds – flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoons only) to work on their specific parts with YOP coaches.

Dress Rehearsals

Final rehearsals before live concert performances in which all performance components (selected music, stage traffic and behaviour) are done as they would be in the actual performance. The students may wear their concert outfits (clothes), but typically it is not a requirement. Our dress rehearsals are scheduled in the morning time block (9 am – 12 pm) on three main concert days.

YOP Concert Series

Three main performances involving all ensembles, scheduled on Saturdays at 2 pm and taking place in the Raffi Armenian concert hall at the Centre In the Square in Kitchener. Concert subscriptions and tickets can be purchased in advance (see our separate landing page). The performing students do not need concert tickets.

Side-By-Side Performances

An opportunity to perform with another orchestra while being paired up with a student or professional musician playing the same instrument. Every season Youth Orchestra (senior group) performs 2-3 times alongside KW Symphony. The intermediate group, Youth Sinfonia engages every year in a side-by-side with Youth Orchestra, typically in the final concert of the season.

Other performance opportunities

Depending on a season and level of orchestra the opportunities include occasional community outreach concerts, fundraising events, exchanges with other groups (local or distanced), collaborations with local art groups and chamber music groups performances.


A half day event for Youth Orchestra scheduled at the beginning of each season is designed to strengthen the group’s teamwork and includes intensive sectional rehearsals, specialized sessions and social time.

Concerto Competition

Scheduled annually in early February and open to all Youth Orchestra members. Up to three winners are selected to perform as soloists with their orchestra. The solo selections must be up to 10 min in length.

Musical Outings

Occasional group trips typically scheduled for our senior group, Youth Orchestra, to attend a KWS concert (complimentary tickets are provided) combined with some social time before the performance.

Scholarship Awards

An annual process funded by KWS Volunteer Committee and overseen by YOP artistic staff that results in selecting most deserving members from all groups to receive various cash awards based on criteria such as merit, teamwork, dependability and others. The awards are typically presented in a short ceremony following the final concert of the season.