Education & Outreach

Reaching 7,500+ Students Each Year

The Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra's extensive education and outreach programs have delighted thousands of young people and earned the praise and gratitude of parents and teachers. Orchestral leaders and teachers alike believe that music encourages children to be more creative and strengthens listening and language skills. Each year our Symphony orchestra members go to area schools to perform great music, and master classes are held for accomplished students.

Masterclasses & Instrumental Coaching

Professional guest artists who are featured in the Williamsburg Symphony’s Masterworks concert series often volunteer to teach a masterclass that is open to the public. At no cost, area students have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play for a renowned professional artist and to receive individual instruction in front of an audience.

In addition to masterclasses, the Williamsburg Symphony also conducts instrumental coaching. We believe that our professional musicians should be an inspiration to young musicians. The WSO arranges for its musicians to meet with small groups of students in school orchestra and band programs to work on technique and mastery of the instrument. These classes are free of charge, with 25 classes offered in area schools each season (Grades 5-12).

View our most recent masterclasses below.

Acclaimed Violinist Stefan Jackiw Inspires Local Youth in Masterclass Sponsored by the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra

09/08/2018: Violin Masterclass

with Stefan Jackiw

11/15/2017: Clarinet Masterclass

with David Shifrin

Williamsburg Youth Orchestras (WYO)

About

The Williamsburg Youth Orchestras, established in 1995 by local musicians and parents, gives area students the opportunity to play in a full orchestra. Thanks to support from arts commissions as well as private and corporate donations, WYO has expanded to include a string orchestra, a chamber music program and a Side-by-Side concert with the Symphony. The first Side-by-Side was presented in May 2013; the second took place on April 26, 2015, at 4 p.m., at the Ferguson Center in Newport News.

The WYO Symphony Orchestra remains the only full orchestral experience available to school-age musicians in the Williamsburg area. The WYO String Orchestras build ensemble musicianship and playing skills. These groups perform a minimum of three concerts together each season.

To learn more about the WYO, visit www.wyomusic.org.

Executive Director: Tanya Song

Music Director: David Grandis

WYO Symphony Orchestra and Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra orchestra members at the Side- by-Side Concert in April 2015, Janna Hymes conducting.

Photo Credit: Paul Embly

WYO Mission Statement

The mission of the Williamsburg Youth Orchestras is to help talented and motivated young musicians in the region develop their full potential as orchestra performers by providing them with the music education programs and performance opportunities that they need.

To meet its mission, the WYO has the following goals:

  • to bring together the finest young musicians from the area to rehearse and perform under the leadership of excellent conductors and section coaches;
  • to further students' appreciation and understanding of music by rehearsing and performing different styles of classical and contemporary music;
  • to support, extend, and enhance local school music programs, as well as to provide home school students with an opportunity to participate in an orchestra;
  • to provide experience rehearsing and performing with different types of ensembles; and
  • to develop a large and appreciative community audience for WYO concerts.

Instruments for Kids

Join the LIKE (Lonely Instruments for Kids to Enjoy) Program!

Donate your retired instruments to deserving young musicians and help them fulfill their dreams of making beautiful music. Donations of instruments are tax deductible.

The Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra is collaborating with the Williamsburg Music Club and other organizations to expand our supply of musical instruments for students in need throughout the greater Williamsburg area. Our Instruments for Kids program has found happy homes for many devices.

WSO Executive Director Carolyn Keurajian is shown accepting a new violin for LIKE from Dave DeBlass of Schmidt Florist, Inc. Thank you!

WSO VP - Education Jack Wagner is heading this program and will be pleased to provide more information or to pick up your donation. Email him at jwagnerip@gmail.com.

View More Information

WSO Executive Director Carolyn Keurajian is shown accepting a new violin for LIKE from Dave DeBlass of Schmidt Florist, Inc. Thank you!

Peter and the Wolf

Teaching the Joy of Classical Music

Music Director Janna Hymes talks to students at Clara Byrd Baker Elementary School.

Students at J. B. Blayton Elmentary were so grateful for the performance at their school that they wrote a thank-you note to Mr. Jamison. They LOVED everything in the presentation, especially hearing the instruments portray the characters in the story.

“Thanks for coming and performing for our students. Your team was awesome, and the kids and staff really enjoyed it. I heard a lot of them humming the songs throughout the day in their classrooms.”
Gary Black - Principal, Stonehouse Elementary School

A generous grant by John C. Jamison enabled hundreds of elementary level children in the WJC system and area private schools to hear a live performance by The Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra of Prokofiev's charming tale set to music in 2017. Between Jan. 12 and Jan. 23, 2017, Music Director Janna Hymes conducted an ensemble from Williamsburg's own professional orchestra to the delight of the students and the appreciation of teachers and parents.

Mr. Jamison first heard Peter and the Wolf as a four-year-old pre-school student attending a performance by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. This seminal experience was the beginning of his life-long devotion to Sergei Prokofiev's 1936 composition as a teaching tool. When Mr. Jamison narrated the score six years ago, he observed how the students became mesmerized by the characters' sounds as portrayed by the instruments in the orchestra. "Exposure to classical music and musicians creates an indelible link in a child's mind," he says.

Narrating the tale of Peter and friends this year was Kelly Kennedy, a featured musician and vocalist with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation as well as an actor well known to regional theater audiences. Ms. Kelly and Ms. Hymes introduced the "characters," and the musicians gave an impromptu solo to demonstrate the instruments' sounds. A lively Q&A session ended the program.

Want more information? Contact Us.

Meet the Musicians

An educational concert which takes place during the school day. Musicians from the Symphony, usually a trio or quartet, visit Williamsburg / James City / York County elementary schools providing students with an overview of classical music, terminology, and a concert. The students have the opportunity to interact with the musicians, play an instrument following the concert, and ask questions.