Youth Orchestras

The Youth Orchestras program was founded in 1947 as an educational outreach tool for the Wichita Symphony Society, and is the largest program of its kind serving Kansas students.

The Symphony maintains three active Youth Orchestras:

  1. Youth Chamber Players - string students from fourth to tenth grade.
  2. Repertory Orchestra - comprised of students in grades seven through twelve.
  3. Youth Symphony - comprised of students in grades seven through twelve.

All three Orchestras are conducted by respected professionals in the music education community, and each section of instruments also receives instruction from section coaches during rehearsals.

Mark Laycock
Youth Symphony Conductor
Fred and Mary Koch Foundation Endowed Chair

Wesley DeSpain
Repertory Orchestra Conductor
Delmar and Mary Klocke Endowed Chair

Eric L. Crawford
Youth Chamber Players Conductor


Auditions for the 2015-2016 Youth Orchestras season will be held May 8-10 at Wichita State University, Deurksen Fine Arts Center. Applications can be downloaded at the following links:


For more information on the Youth Orchestras program, contact Youth Orchestras Manager Ann DuPuis at 316-706-4167 or by e-mail at

These activities are made possible with the generous support provided by Cessna Aircraft Company and Textron Charitable Trust, The Sam and Rie Bloomfield Foundation, The City of Wichita, and Symphony al fresco.


The Youth Orchestras perform two concerts throughout the academic school year, one in the spring and one in the fall. The 2014-2015 Youth Orchestras Concerts will be presented in the Century II Concert Hall on:

  • Sunday, November 23, 2014, at 3:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 8, 2015, at 3:00 p.m.


Membership is by audition only and members must have the recommendation of their orchestra and/or band directors. Exceptions are students from schools that have no orchestra or band program. Those students must be recommended by their school official and their private instructor, and must remain active in private lessons throughout the school year.

Members of the Youth Orchestras are required to participate in Saturday morning rehearsals from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Rehearsals are held at the Deurksen Fine Arts Center on the Wichita State University campus.

The yearly fee to participate in the Youth Orchestras program is $200. Since dues and ticket sales cover only a small portion of the Youth Orchestras budget, tax-deductible contributions are welcome.




Every year the Wichita Symphony holds the annual Youth Talent competition for members of the Wichita Symphony Youth Orchestras. The selection committee for these awards consists of the conductors of the Repertory Orchestra and Youth Symphony and two professional musicians from the community. These auditions showcase the talent of Wichita’s brightest young musicians, and provide opportunities for scholarships to music camps and for future music majors. This year’s competition will be held Saturday, December 13 in the Duerksen Fine Arts Center at Wichita State University and is open to the public.

Youth Talent Award

Open to all seniors in the Youth Orchestras Program. The first place winner will perform with the Youth Symphony in the spring concert and is awarded a $250 honorarium. Each auditionee must audition with the musical selection to be performed with the orchestra.

Stephen Paul Wunsch Foundation for Young Musicians Award

Open to all members of the Youth Orchestras Program. This award provides a partial scholarship to the Interlochen Music Camp, Aspen Music School, the Brevard Music Festival or other comparable music camp.

Senseney Music Inc. Youth Talent Award for Winds and Percussion

Awarded to the winning wind or percussion player at the Youth Talent Auditions. In the event the winner of the Youth Talent Award is a wind or percussion player, the Senseney Award will be presented to the second place wind or percussion player. The Senseney Award includes a $50 honorarium.

McHugh Violins, Inc. Talent Award for Strings

Awarded to the winning string player at the Youth Talent Auditions. If the Youth Talent Award is presented to a string player, the McHugh Award will be presented to the second place string player. This award includes a $50 honorarium.


 James P. Robertson Award

A $750 award will be presented during the spring concert to a graduating senior in the Youth Orchestras Program. Selection of a recipient is based on artistic excellence, potential, attitude, overall involvement in the Youth Orchestras Program and the pursuit of a music major following graduation.

Jancie Hupp Memorial Fund Award

The Janice Hupp Memorial Fund was established in 1999 upon her death to recognize her dedication and service to music and music education in south-central Kansas. A product of the Wichita Public School system herself, Ms. Hupp was a member of the Wichita Youth Orchestras as a student. From 1978-1988, she served as Manager of the Youth Orchestra program. Through these awards, her legacy of helping aspiring students achieve their goals will be continued in perpetuity. Those wishing to make contributions to the Janice Hupp Memorial Fund should contact the Wichita Symphony Orchestra at 316-267-5259.

The Eldon Lipp Memorial Viola Award

Established in 2002 by his family to recognize his decades of service and dedication to the string students of our region, the student winning this prize is allowed to perform for a year on the beautiful memorial viola bearing the Eldon Lipp memorial inscription.

Paul Conrad Woolwine “Rising Star” String Scholarship

A $500 scholarship will be awarded annually to a graduating senior who will be enrolled as a music major in college. Those wishing to make contributions to the Paul Conrad Woolwind “Rising Star” String Scholarship should contact the Wichita Symphony Orchestra at 316-267-5259. The Paul Conrad Woolwine Violin Award was established in 2012 by his family as a tribute to his years as a member of the Youth Orchestras program. A student winning this prize is allowed to perform for a year on this wonderful violin.

Additional awards may also be presented in the spring to seniors. Each scholarship is awarded to members in the Youth Orchestras program who have exemplified excellence in the program. Recommendations for these awards are made by the artistic and administrative staff.