School Concerts

 School Concerts 2014

Teachers: School Concert Activities. Thank you to Karen Gibbons for the creation of the school guide. Download: School Concert Activities Guide.

                                                    Concerts Sponsored by:





How Canada Came To Be


Compiled by Rhonda Draper, Recipient of the Governor-General Award. for more detailed information on Rhonda's offerings.

300 elementary students from Glenmore were trained by Rhonda Draper for the whole year with Rosemary Thomson coming in after Christmas. Together with the OSO we performed Rhonda's Governor General Award winning show "How Canada Came to be" which tells the story of Canada's history through its folk songs. 

The children sing, dance, choreograph, narrate and play instruments accompanied by the OSO who commissioned the orchestra parts in arrangements by Claude Lapalme. It is a multi-media presentation with historical pictures being shown throughout the concert. 1,900 elementary students watched the show in Kelowna with a further 1300 community members in the evening performance. 100 Grade 6 students continued the show in Vernon (1000 attendees) and in Penticton (400 attendees).  Students from CATO under faculty supervision video recorded the Kelowna performances for a future DVD release.

Audiences were thrilled with the performances in every centre.


2011-2012 Education & Community 

The Okanagan Symphony Orchestra extended its reach into the community through many exciting and innovative projects. 


October 2011
One of the highlights was without a doubt our opening program in October. Built around R. Murray Schafer's The Falcon's Trumpet this was a collaboration with Ballet Kelowna featuring the world premiere choreography of BK's Artistic Director, David Lahay with  renowned trumpeter Guy Few as soloist. This 25 minute work sees the orchestra in a semicircle on stage as well as surrounding the audience, thus allowing the space for the dancers. This was the first time that the orchestra used the curtain and theatrical lighting in keeping with the visual element of ballet. As the curtain rose, the audience exclaimed just seeing the unusual configuration of the orchestra. Many tried and true symphony patrons declared it was their favourite performance that they had seen the OSO do.

In addition to the performances we had a full week of outreach activities directly associated with the program and our visiting artisis, particularly Murray Schafer. Mr. Schafer, David Lahay and Rosemary Thomson spoke at a UBCO class in cultural studies for 100 students about the collaborative and creative process. The same three as well as Guy Few and some of the Ballet Kelowna dancers had a panel discussion at UBCO for the Minds and Music Series combined with a first year philosophy class. Mr. Schafer and Ms. Thomson led a workshop based on Mr. Schafer's text book 'Hear/Sing' for thirty elementary music school teachers. Guy Few gave a trumpet master class for eight senior high school trumpeters. Mr. Schafer taught some private composition lessons through the Kelowna Community Music School. The OSO helped to arrange an Arts Scavenger Hunt as part of the pro-development day for teachers culminating in a pre-rehearsal chat at our open dress rehearsal. Forty teachers participated. The orchestra made a audio recording of The Falcon's Trumpetuner the Symphony, Opera and Ballet Live Recording Agreement with recording engineer Hans Looman which the Ballet will use on its BC and Alberta wide tours.

November - Mozart Requiem

The return of the Okanagan Symphony Chorus has been a long time in coming and has proven to be a wonderful addition to our orchestral offerings. After our 50th anniversary celebrations, the members who made up the chorus were very keen to continue working together. The chorus is made up of 100 singers from throughout the Okanagan valley who rehearsed biweekly throughout the summer and weekly from September to November with Rosemary Thomson. The cohesiveness and the development of this new group was remarkable. The Requiem was performed on Remembrance Day and throughout that weekend to a near capacity audience.

January - Fireworks
The OSO was joined by three of the valley's talented youth symphonies for three performances of Handel's Royal Fireworks Music. The Carriage House Orchestra from the Vernon Community Music School, a string orchestra made up of students from nine to nineteen years of age, the Night Owl Orchestra from the Kelowna Secondary School community and the Youth Symphony of the Okanagan with players from throughout the valley. The experience for the students began long before the final rehearsal week. Rosemary Thomson worked with each ensemble for ten weeks leading up to the concert. At the first rehearsal the musicians had an hour of sectional time where they were split up into their instrument grouping and received specific instruction from the OSO principals, before joining en masse for a total of 140 players on stage. The performance was exhilarating and the audience was diverse in its makeup and thrilled to be there. The following day, it was reported to us by one mother that her nine year old (our youngest player) was completely tranfomed at his piano lesson, focused and wanting to be pushed. When she asked him what had happened, he replied "orchestra completely changed me mom." A highlight indeed.

February Your Story at the Symphony Guest narrator Brian Martin (from Sun FM)

We held a story writing contest across the valley and received over one hundred entries.The evaluation committee headed by Ms. Thomson along with a retired librarian and school teacher selected seven winning stories. Orchestral standards were selected by Ms. Thomson to illustrate each of these stories and each story was read in its entirety by Mr. Martin immediately before its corresponding musical selection for the performances which were exceedingly well received by teachers, students families and critics.

 "Dear Mr Wilson,

  This is a quick note to tell you that 'Your Story at the Symphony' was fantastic.  I can't express how much my family and I enjoyed the performance.  The performers did an amazing job keeping the kids engaged, especially the conductor and the narrator.  The music was fabulous, several times I saw my son Jonah (4) bobbing his head to the music and giggling at the musicians 'sound effects'.  It was wonderful to be able to take our young and busy boys to a performance that is a blend of culture and fun.  Providing a cultural event that is geared to their age group is amazing and we love that you are providing the opportunities. The best part of the performance was that everyone seemed to have fun, the families and kids as well as the musicians and performers!   Please pass on my thanks to the people who provided the tickets to us at no charge through 'The Bridge'.  Giving us the opportunity to attend this event was such an amazing treat and great experience for my kids.   Keep them coming, we would love to see more!!


Kate Clements"

Workshops, Master Classes and Promoting young performers

We have provided master classes with trumpeter Guy Few, singers - Melina Moore, Isaiah Bell and Alan Corbishley, violinist Melissa Wilmot and pianist Ian Parker, benefitting well over 100 young musicians.

Our new program, "Musicians in the Making" which sees young artists performing in our lobby preconcert is now well established in Kelowna and growing in Penticton and Vernon.

We have always had mentorships for advanced teen string players to perform our masterworks with the OSO. We look forward to broadening this base by including more youth on our mainstage.


The OSO in 2011/12 has continued to seek out and lead opportunities for collaboration. Our work with Ballet Kelowna on The Falcon's Trumpet closely integrated all aspects of our two organizations, strengthening relationships and creating new opportunities for audience development, outreach, and funding. Our communities were thrilled to see this kind of partnership and the artistic result was innovative in our community.

At Christmas, the Okanagan Handbell Choir was made up of twelve elite BC Handbell ringers assemble for the OSO by past Board member Nikki Atwell. Again, involving this ensemble brought us new connections to church audiences and a wider community of music lovers who had not previously attended the symphony. The musical result was joyful and magical and we performed this program to a near capacity audience. This collaboration also saw a renewed interest from the local and provincial media getting the word out about the OSO.

The huge success of our performance with the UBC Opera Ensemble Studio in 2011 has opened the door for a regular collaboration, manifested by our program called Divas, Dons & Dastards, in which we presented 8 UBCO vocalists in arias, duets, trios and full scenes in music of Verdi, Puccini, Bizet and Bernstein, among others. There is currently no  live opera being offered in our community apart from our efforts. Partnering with UBC allows us to present operatic evenings for our audiences, currently as part of our Masterworks series, but possibly growing into its own series in the future.