CMS Orchestras & Ensembles

Community Music School orchestras and ensembles are structured to enhance students’ skills beyond individual performance and to support the education process in school music programs. CMS orchestras and ensembles meet during the academic year at the CMS Center on the main campus at Webster University.


Applications to audition for the 2021-2022 season will open on May 1, 2021

CMS orchestra

Average age: 7-10 years

String Ensemble

Beginning String Ensemble. Emphasizes reading and ensemble skills. Members must have a thorough knowledge of first position, letter names of notes, and have good left- and right-hand playing positions and ability to play in tune.

Average age 9-14 years

String Orchestra

Intermediate String Orchestra. Emphasizes ensemble playing and literature.  Bowing techniques include off the string playing, playing at the frog; Violinists need knowledge of third position, 1st violinist occasional fourth and fifth position.  Cellists required to shift.  Strong preparation for YPCO.

Students through high school

Young People's Concert Orchestra (YPCO)

Full Orchestra.  Emphasizes development of ensemble skills, intonation, rhythm, and sight-reading, performs original and arranged orchestral literature.  Past repertoire includes: Die Fleidermaus Overture-Strauss (ed. Kennedy), Finale to Symphony No. 5-Shostakovich (arr. Bulla), and An American in Paris Suite-Gershwin (arr. Whitney).

Students through high school

Young People's Symphonic Orchestra (YPSO)

Advanced Full Orchestra. Performs orchestral literature in its original form. Past repertoire includes: Beethoven Symphony No. 5, Bizet Symphony No. 1, and movements from Copland's Rodeo.  All members are eligible and invited to audition for the YPSO Concerto Competition.


Students through high school

Young People's Orchestra Percussion (YPOP)

Percussionists for the YPCO and YPSO ensembles; one-on-one/small group coaching; large ensemble rehearsals; emphasizes fluency, proficiency and technique on orchestral percussion.