The goal of the Youth Orchestras of Prince William (YOPW) is to be an exceptional instrumental program for the youth of our region. YOPW promotes quality music education, provides a range of performance opportunities, fosters musical awareness and appreciation, and produces cultural experience for our region. YOPW was founded in 1981 as a single youth orchestra by the Woodbridge Music Club and has grown to now include two symphonic orchestras, three string orchestras, a wind symphony, two percussion ensembles and a chamber music program for school age student musicians.
Introduction to Preparatory provides instruction for students who have never played a string instrument or have just begun. Members of this program automatically become a part of the Preparatory Orchestra when it begins in late fall. Auditions are not required for this ensemble.
Preparatory Orchestra provides a beginning orchestral experience for string players of
new ability. The primary emphasis of this ensemble is to teach beginning ensemble skills, orchestra rehearsal etiquette, and to help facilitate note-reading skills. Typical students are participants in fourth through sixth grade string programs who desire additional challenges and enrichment. Auditions are not required for this ensemble.
Primo Orchestra develops basic technical and ensemble skills and encourages long-term interest in string performance. Typical new Primo members have studied their instruments for at least a year or two and have mastered basic technical and note-reading skills. The ensemble performs Grade 2-3 string orchestra literature.
Repertory Orchestra provides opportunities for the intermediate string player. A greater range of repertoire is introduced, along with advanced bowing and fingering techniques. Students are exposed to music theory. This orchestra performs Grade 3-4 orchestra literature.
Wind Symphony is designed to enhance the musical skills of outstanding woodwind, brass, and percussion players who are primarily in grades seven through ten. In addition to performing with the Wind Symphony, selected students will have the opportunity to perform orchestral literature with our Concert Orchestra.
Concert Orchestra is a full orchestra with winds and percussion in which students master more difficult repertoire. Advanced technical skills are emphasized and additional music theory is incorporated into rehearsals. This orchestra performs Grade 4-5 symphonic orchestra literature.
Youth Symphony Orchestra is the most advanced orchestra and performs standard orchestral literature.
Cadet Percussion develops young percussionists' skills and techniques. All orchestral percussion instruments are utilized. This ensemble performs with the Preparatory, Primo and Repertory Orchestras.
Percussion Ensemble is the most advanced percussion ensemble and performs orchestral and advanced percussion literature. This ensemble performs with the Wind Symphony, Concert Orchestra and Youth Symphony Orchestra.
YOPW also offers a Chamber Music Program for our members. This program provides additional training in chamber music repertoire for small chamber ensembles. Chamber ensembles have experience playing at weddings, receptions and other occasions.
YOPW enrolls approximately 300 student musicians in 1st - 12th grade. YOPW accepts auditions throughout the season and offers musical instruction for string players from beginner to advanced and wind and percussion players from intermediate to advanced.
YOPW holds at least five concerts each season and all concerts are open to the public. Concert tickets are available by contacting YOPW or at the venue the day of the concert.
YOPW also hosts two recitals each season and both are free and open to the public.