Youth Orchestras & Ensembles

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 22 cities and towns in central Kansas and northern Oklahoma. WSYO ensembles include the Youth Symphony, Repertory Orchestra, Youth Chamber Players, and Wind Ensemble. For full descriptions of the ensembles, click here

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Membership Auditions

Click here for information about 2022-2023 season auditions!

Support the WSYO Program


If you'd like to support the WSYO program, please contact Nina Longhofer at to discuss sponsorship options.

Program Book Advertising

WSYO presents two concerts each year with over 2,000 people in attendance. Your ad in our program book represents your support of our mission to enrich the education of Wichita-area students and raises awareness for your business, and your logo on our t-shirt will be worn around the region by our wonderful students. Please complete the below form to reserve space for your ad in our program book and get your logo on our t-shirts!


Deadline: September 9, 2022

Holiday Ensembles

To raise funds for their upcoming tour to Memphis and Nashville, small ensembles comprised of students from Youth Symphony, our premiere ensemble, will be available for hire for your holiday party at a rate of $50/hour per student. 100% of the proceeds benefit their individual tour accounts. Please complete the below request form to arrange a student performance for your holiday party.

WSYO HOliday Ensemble Request Form

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, and Cessna and Beechcraft by Textron Aviation.

Meet our Conductors & Staff

Youth Symphony

Dr. Mark Laycock
Director of Youth Orchestras & Ensembles Program
Youth Symphony Conductor
Fred and Mary Koch Foundation Endowed Chair

Dr. Mark Laycock is a Professor of Music at Wichita State University, where he holds the Ann Walenta Faculty of Distinction Endowed Professorship. He serves as Director of Orchestras and Coordinator of Strings. A member of the Board of Directors of the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic, he is also Conductor of the Wichita Youth Symphony. His work as guest conductor, clinician, or adjudicator spans 34 states. Dr. Laycock has served the National Orchestra Festival as adjudicator, clinician, and, in 2018 and 2019, chair of the event. Dr. Laycock has presented clinic sessions for numerous state education conventions, as well as the American String Teachers Association National Conference, the Northwest and Northeast Division Conventions of the National Association for Music Education, and the Midwest Clinic. A frequent visitor to Australia, he will be a Keynote Speaker for the 2021 Australian National Band and Orchestra Conference. Dr. Laycock is a four-time invited music education panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, evaluating grant applications from institutions throughout the country. He is a chapter author for the fourth volume of Teaching Music through Performance in Orchestra and a frequent contributor to the American String Teacher journal. 

Repertory Orchestra

Eric L. Crawford
Repertory Orchestra Conductor

Delmar and Mary Klocke Endowed Chair 

Eric Crawford is very excited to begin 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 Bands at Wichita State University. His responsibilities include leading the WSU Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Concert 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.

Tiffany Bell Rhodes

Manager of Education and Community Partnerships
Wichita Symphony Orchestra

As Education Manager, Tiffany Bell Rhodes oversees operations of all Wichita Symphony Youth Orchestras and Wind Ensemble activities. For any questions regarding our youth ensembles, contact Tiffany at:
316.267.5259 xt 105

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