Growing Hearts & Minds

The OSO believes that musical experiences are the foundation for important personal and social development. Each year, our musicians and our partners dedicate time and energy to ensure that young people have the chance to experience and explore music in different ways. Whether it is on or off our stages, our goal is to share our love of music and the joy of discovery with students throughout the Okanagan.

Every new school year presents the opportunity for us all to nurture future patrons of the arts, leaders or mentors in their own right. For all students, skills and values such as listening, compassion and cooperation that are developed through musical exposure are gifts that will remain for life. We are proud to reflect on the young people whose lives, families and even career choices have been transformed through association with our programs. Please join us as we continue growing hearts and minds.

Okanagan Symphony Youth Orchestra

Ages 10-20

The Okanagan Symphony Youth Orchestra (OSYO) is made up of eighty young orchestral musicians from throughout the Okanagan Valley. Under the direction of Dennis Colpitts and Rosemary Thomson, the OSYO is the flagship of the OSO’s Engagement and Education program. Now in its 31st season, the OSYO program offers students from ages 10 to 20 a rigorous orchestral training program with OSO mentors, weekly rehearsals, overnight camp, concerto solo opportunities, new professionally coach chamber music program and the opportunity to compose a work for the orchestra.

Symphony School Shows

Kindergarten through grade 6

The OSO is thrilled to present a brand new show for this season’s Symphony School Show: Tmixw (the nsyilxcən word for animals) This show will shine a spotlight on the animals of the Okanagan from the perspective of the Syilx people.

Curated by Cori Derrickson:smqwmqwtalqs, Sqilxw Artist of the Okanagan Nation, with new orchestrations by Summerland composer Anita Perry, Tmixw will celebrate the land and the animals of the Okanagan using music, drama, dance, and storytelling with a focus on nsyilxcən, the traditional language of the Syilx people of the Okanagan. Okanagan students and professional performers will share the stage with the OSO as we celebrate this rich heritage.

Symphony Storytime

Children 2 - 5 years & families (but all welcome!)

Symphony Storytime is a wonderful way to introduce pre-schoolers to the magic of live orchestral music. Master educator Joe Berarducci leads these story-based, 40-minute interactive concerts with OSO and OSYO quintets. The whole family can join in singing, dancing and playing percussion instruments while engaging in folk tales and nursery rhymes. What a great way to meet the instrument families of the orchestra!

The Colossal Carrot - October 12, 2019
(featuring the string family)

The Tale of Humpty Dumpty - November 23, 2019
(featuring the percussion family)

Magic Pasta Pot - March 28, 2020
(featuring the woodwind family) – CANCELLED

The Shoemaker & the Elves - April 25, 2020
(featuring the brass family) – CANCELLED

Middle School Band Clinics

Band students in grades 6 through 9

Area middle school band students enjoy an annual clinic with OSO professionals and OSYO mentors. The clinic gives these students - many of whom have just started learning their instrument at school - the opportunity to receive specific instruction from a professional, ensuring that any bad habits are nipped in the bud. They also meet students from other schools who share the same instrument, and hear their instrument up close and played by a pro.

A morning clinic at the Kelowna Community Theatre and the library sees fifteen difference spaces filled with students and pros: trumpets in the lobby, clarinets in the Black BOx Threatre, oboes in the dressing rooms, percussion on the stage and lots more. After the clinic, as part of a school field trip, students stay to see and hear the dress rehearsal for the OSO/OSYO Side-by-Side concert.


Suggested level Grade IX RCM and above

Students across the Valley can apply to participate in Masterclasses with our renowned guest artists.

In recent years, students have had the opportunity to learn hands-on and up-close from artists including pianists Ian Parker and Jane Coop, trumpet player Jens Lindemann, and the Gryphon Trio.

Students interested in participating in a mAsterclass this season should contact the OSO office for an application form at least one month in advance.

Cello Masterclass with Bryan Cheng
Sunday, October 20, 2019, 12:30 to 2:30pm
First Lutheran Church, 4091 Lakeshore Rd, Kelowna

Violin Masterclass with Alicia Venables
Sunday, February 9, 2020, 2:30 to 4:30pm
Vernon Community Music School, 1705 32 Ave, Vernon

Piano Masterclass with Ian Parker
Saturday, March 7, 2020, 1:00 to 3:00pm
Location TBC

Rock Masterclass with members of The Gary Cable Project for keyboards, guitars, bass, trumpets/horns, drums or vocals
Saturday, January 18, 2020, 10:00am to 12:00pm at First Lutheran Church, 4091 Lakeshore Drive. Register at

To be confirmed: composer masterclasses in November with Mark Haney and in February with Nicholas Denton-Protsack and Ernst Schneider.