Youth Orchestras

The Youth Orchestras perform two concerts throughout the academic school year, one in the spring and one in the fall. The 2015-2016 Youth Orchestras Concerts will be presented in the Century II Concert Hall on:

  • Sunday, November 22, 2015, at 3:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 6, 2016, at 3:00 p.m.

Ticket prices: $14 for adults and $7 for students 13 and older. Students 12 and under do not need a ticket. Tickets are available from any Youth Orchestras member or at the WSO website: or at the door.

Wichita Symphony Youth Orchestras Philosophy

The WICHITA YOUTH SYMPHONY, WICHITA REPERTORY ORCHESTRA and the WICHITA YOUTH CHAMBER PLAYERS represent the finest student musicians in south central Kansas. Founded in 1947 as an educational project of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, the Youth Orchestras Program provides a unique opportunity for talented school-age musicians to further their musical education through participation in one of the three orchestras, each trained under professional conductors and coaches. Participation in these groups enables the members to become acquainted with and perform literature from the standard symphonic and string orchestral repertoire. During the season, each orchestra presents a fall and a spring concert.

The Wichita Youth Symphony is a charter member of the Youth Symphony Orchestra Division of the League of American Orchestras.

The Wichita Symphony maintains three active Youth Orchestras:

Wichita Symphony Youth Symphony

Dr. Mark Laycock, conductor
Fred and Mary Koch Foundation Endowed Chair

The Youth Symphony (YS) was founded in 1947 as a training ensemble for school-aged musicians. YS, a full symphony orchestra, is the advanced of the three WSYO orchestras. Students perform two concerts each season. The YS is open to students in grades seven through twelve. Students meet in regular sectionals with members of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra and community musicians.

Wichita Symphony Repertory Orchestra

Dr. Wesley DeSpain, conductor
Delmar and Mary Klocke Endowed Chair

The Repertory Orchestra (Rep) is an intermediate full orchestra that aims to prepare its members for musical participation in the Youth Symphony.  Students experience playing in a full orchestra with strings, winds, and percussion and original repertoire, as well as arrangements of great orchestral masterpieces.  Rep is open to students in grades seven through twelve. Students meet in regular sectionals with members of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra and community musicians.

Wichita Symphony Youth Chamber Players

Eric Crawford, conductor

Youth Chamber Players (Chamber Players) is an ensemble for young string musicians. Through participation in this orchestra, students improve individual playing technique, develop ensemble skills and gain valuable performance experience. Chamber Players is intended to serve string students in grades four through ten. Students have sectionals twice a semester with Wichita Symphony Orchestra and community musicians.


Fall auditions for the 2015-2016 Youth Orchestras season will be held  August 19 at Wichita State University, Deurksen Fine Arts Center. Information on what to prepare can be downloaded at the following links. To schedule an audition please contact Anne Marie Brown, (316) 267-5259, xt 107 or at


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 annual tuition to participate in the Youth Orchestras program is $200 plus an annual Library and Materials fee of $20. Since dues and ticket sales cover only a small portion of the Youth Orchestras budget, tax-deductible contributions are welcome.


For more information on the Youth Orchestras program, contact Youth Orchestras Manager Ann DuPuis at 316-706-4167 or by e-mail at or WSO Operations Manager Anne Marie Brown at (316) 267-5259 or by e-mail

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.




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.