Education & Community

The OSO provides artistic leadership throughout the valley, focusing especially on the next generation of music makers. Music Director, Rosemary Thomson, the professional musicians who make up the orchestra and guest artists are all engaged in sharing their expertise in workshops and master classes. We are proud of our efforts to reach out to communities to find ways to connect and help engender a passion for live music.

There is extensive work done with schools throughout the Valley - Preschool programs (Symphony Storytime), in-school performances and instrument demonstrations (Music in the Classroom), a Story-Writing Competition, Family Matinee, concerts for K-6 students in Penticton, Vernon and Kelowna, as well as teacher workshops, classroom study guides and Teacher training workshops.

Hundreds of Okanagan children, youth and adults have performed with the Symphony Orchestra in Main Stage concerts, school concerts, Matinees, Christmas and Pops concerts. We have collaborated with UBC to present Opera students and to participate in the UBCO Lecture Series - Music and the Mind. Both the Okanagan Symphony Chorus and Youth Symphony Chorus have contributed to the vibrant musical life in the Valley.

The Youth Orchestra under the auspices of the OSO for the third year has seen a startling expansion of members.

The general public is welcomed to attend Open Rehearsals and Pre-concert lectures where Rosemary warmly engages the audience with an in-depth explanation of the musical nuances of each composition.  Young musicians perform in the foyer of the concert hall prior to the Main Stage performances in a program we call "Musicians in the Making".

When she isn't in rehearsal or performance with the OSO, or in planning meetings, Rosemary spends as much time as possible out in our communities throughout the valley. She is a guest clinician throughout the valley, working with choruses, string groups, chamber groups, bands, coaching individual singers and instrumentalists as well as adjudicating at music festivals. She visits schools, music schools, senior centres, clubs, and special needs groups sharing her passion for music and her love for building healthy communities through the arts. Rosemary is also much in demand as an emcee. Her dedication to music in our valley was recognized in 2012 with the Okanagan Arts Award for Music.

Our orchestra is made up of dedicated and talented musicians who come from all the communities that make up the Okanagan. When not playing with the orchestra, many of our players are teachers, both in the public and private school systems as well as private music teachers in community music schools and in their homes. In addition, many of our players coach and conduct other musical groups of all ages and abilities. Each of our players has a unique story and we invite you to learn about them in our monthly spotlight on a musician.

Bringing renowned Guest Artists to our valley is an integral part of our OSO concert season of performances. In addition to performing their concertos with great virtuosity, these artists also generously share their gifts for music in Public Master Classes, private lessons and lectures.