What do we do?
We rehearse music, generally from September to June each year (with an extended Christmas break including time for high school exams in January). It's a safe bet that we'll play some form of concert or event once a month, leading up to our end of season "Spring Concert".
As far as organization, the OYSO is actually divided into two age / experience groups:
The Junior Orchestra is for the very young members. The junior orchestra helps our younger members get used to the idea of the Orchestra, including things like regular rehearsals, practising music, and performances.
The Senior Orchestra is for everyone else. The music is more challenging, the rehearsal times are longer, and the concerts are more varied. Additionally, the Senior members will perform in Ensembles, like String Quartets or Wind Quintets. These smaller groups are given time to rehearse, and perform around Orillia and Area, as well as in the Orillia Kiwanis Music Festival.
What do we play?
A fair variety of music actually. There is the 'traditional' music for an Orchestra, like Beethoven and Mozart, there's Jazz music, Beatles music, Fiddle music, Christmas music, Movie Soundtrack music, Chorales, Church Hymns...we even sing a song or two each year.
What instruments do we play ?
An Orchestra can be divided into four instrument types:
1. String Section
The strings are broken into six different parts: Violin I, Violin II, Violin III, Viola, Cello, and String Bass. The string section is typically the largest group in the Orchestra. The leader of the string section is the Concert Master, who is also the Conductor's "right-hand", responsible for tuning the Orchestra and leading the string section.
2. Woodwind Section
The woodwinds include instruments like the oboe, flute, clarinet and bassoon. Some years we've had the more exotic instruments like the bass clarinet or the piccolo flute.
3. Brass Section
Apart from the percussion section, the brass is the smallest of the group. Mostly this is because it's very easy for one trumpet to blast out five violin players! The brass instruments in an orchestra would include the trumpet, french horn, trombone and tuba, with the occasional euphonium or cornet..
In an orchestra, the percussionist is a "jack of all trades". Instruments are too many to list here, but include the Timpani, snare, chimes, bells, glockenspiel, tom tom, cymbals, slide whistle, piano, and kitchen sink.