Youth Orchestras & Ensembles

Membership Auditions

Click here for more information about our 2024-2025 Season Auditions!

About Wichita Symphony Youth Orchestras & Ensembles

The Wichita Symphony Youth Orchestras Program (WSYO) brings classical music to life for young people in south central Kansas. This program is a key educational outreach arm of the Wichita Symphony and shares in its mission to enrich, educate, and entertain diverse audiences of all ages in our region through performances of orchestral music, thereby enhancing the vibrancy and vitality of Wichita.

Founded in 1947, WSYO’s Youth Symphony is a charter member of the Youth Symphony Orchestra Division of the League of American Orchestras. Today, the Wichita Symphony Youth Orchestras Program is made up of four ensembles that serve over 250 students from 19 cities and towns in Kansas. WSYO ensembles include the Youth Symphony, Repertory Orchestra, Youth Chamber Players, Wind Ensemble, and coming in Spring 2024, the Youth Concert Band! For full descriptions of the ensembles, click here

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  1. Nov 23
    7:30 PM
    Nov 24
    3 PM
    Join the Wichita Symphony Youth Orchestras for their fall concerts.
  2. Mar 8
    7:30 PM
    Mar 9
    3 PM
    Join the Wichita Symphony Youth Orchestras for their spring concerts.

Support the WSYO Program


If you'd like to support the WSYO program, please contact Tiffany Bell Rhodes at to discuss sponsorship options.

Thank You to Our WSYO Sponsors!

Wichita Symphony Youth Orchestras activities are made possible with the generous support provided by The City of Wichita, The Sam and Rie Bloomfield Foundation, Fidelity Bank, Star Lumber, and Cessna and Beechcraft by Textron Aviation.

Meet our Conductors & Staff

Youth Symphony

Dr. R. Christopher Teichler
Youth Symphony Interim Conductor

Dr. R. Christopher Teichler has been an active musician for over 40 years as composer, conductor, performer, and teacher. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition from the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music, and a Master of Music and Doctor of Music degrees in Composition from Northwestern University. Chris has taught composition, conducting, aural skills, trumpet, and piano, and his experience includes teaching at Wheaton, Trinity, Northwestern University and DePaul University, as well as privately. He is a member of the American Composers Forum, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the College Band Directors National Association (CBNDA), the National Association for Music Education, the Kansas Music Educators Association, the Kansas Bandmasters Association, and the Christian Fellowship of Art Music Composers. He is also the Composer in Residence for the MidCities Chamber Singers, a choral group that performs in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Chris is currently serving as Associate Professor of Music and Director of Instrumental Music at Tabor College (Hillsboro, KS), where he directs the Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, Brass Ensemble and Bluejay Band. He and his wife Sarah have four beautiful children.

Repertory Orchestra

Eric L. Crawford
Repertory Orchestra Conductor

Delmar and Mary Klocke Endowed Chair 

Eric Crawford is very excited to continue his new journey with the Repertory Orchestra after having been the director of Youth Chamber Players for the previous fourteen years! When not working with the Repertory Orchestra, Mr. Crawford is the director of orchestras at Wichita High School East and is the orchestra curriculum coach for Wichita Symphony Schools. He has also played bass with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra for twenty-five seasons and has been the bass player for Music Theatre Wichita for twenty-one years. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Mr. Crawford began playing double bass at the age of nine. He has a bachelor's degree in Bass Performance from the prestigious Eastman School of Music, and he also has a master's degree from Wichita State University. Mr. Crawford has conducted numerous student groups throughout the state of Kansas and frequently adjudicates at regional and state festivals. He has served as the President of the Kansas Chapter of the American String Teacher's Association as well as the President of the Wichita Chapter of the American Federation of Musicians, Local 297.

Youth Chamber Players

Catherine Tummons
Youth Chamber Players Conductor

Ms. Catherine Tummons is a native of Wichita, Kansas. She has taught band and orchestra in Wichita Public Schools since graduating from Wichita State University with a Bachelors of Music Education in 2012. She subsequently completed Kodaly certification Levels 1-3 and her Masters in Music Education in 2018 at WSU. Ms. Tummons currently teaches at Christa McAuliffe Academy and Heights High School, plays violin/viola in local orchestras, works several summer music camps, maintains a small private studio, is an active member of KASTA, and is excited to direct the Wichita Youth Chamber Players! She was named Young Teacher of the Year by the Kansas American String Teacher Association and was awarded a Distinguished Classroom Teacher Award from Wichita Public Schools. When not in rehearsal, you'll find her reading, hiking, playing board games, or doting on her two cats!

Youth Wind Ensemble

Dr. Timothy Shade
Youth Wind Ensemble Conductor

Dr. Timothy Shade is currently the Director of the School of Music and Director of Bands at Wichita State University. His responsibilities include leading the WSU Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band, coordinating the graduate wind conducting program and teaching various courses within the school of music. Previous appointments include Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Alhambra Orchestra (FL), Visiting Director of Orchestras at Florida Atlantic University, and Director of Instrumental Music at Bethel College (KS). He has garnered praise for his exciting programming, engaging personality and “marvelous conducting.” Equally comfortable in the orchestral and wind realms, Shade has worked with Greater Miami Symphonic Band, The New River Orchestra, The Naples Philharmonic, The Frost Wind Ensemble, The Florida Youth Symphony, The Wichita Wind Ensemble, The Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra, and the Delano Chamber Orchestra.

Youth Concert Band

Erik Stone
Youth Concert Band Conductor

Erik Stone is a band director, music teacher, and AVID site coordinator with Wichita Public Schools at Gordon Parks Academy. Mr. Stone is an experienced guest conductor, clinician, and published author working with students from the beginning years of instruction to professional level ensembles. Since graduating from Wichita State University with both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, he has had tremendous success working with students at all ages. In July of 2017 he was recognized by the Kansas Bandmasters Association as the year’s recipient of the Outstanding Young Bandmaster Award. Most recently Erik was recognized by Wichita Public Schools as their Distinguished Classroom Teacher of the Year in 2023. He is currently their candidate for The Kansas Teacher of the Year for 2025. Additionally, he serves as a Social Media and Marketing Manager for The Kansas Music Educators Association, the Kansas Bandmasters Association, and several educational organizations. When he is not actively working on all things band and education, Erik can be found at home singing to his favorite musicals while cleaning, doing home improvement projects with friends, or spending time with his miniature dachshund, Maleficent.

Maya Grossman

Youth Orchestras Manager
Wichita Symphony Orchestra

As Youth Orchestras Manager, Maya Grossman oversees operations of all Wichita Symphony Youth Orchestras and Wind Ensemble activities. For any questions regarding our youth ensembles, contact Maya at:
316.267.5259 xt 107

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