1. What kind of instruments can participate in ONSP?
    Orchestral string instruments, including violins, violas, cellos, (double) basses of any level, and intermediate and advanced orchestral winds and brass (flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone).
  2. Where is ONSP held?
    Orchestra North Smithers is generously hosted by the Smithers campus of Northwest Community College, See for more information. Some chamber music groups may be given space next to the college.
  3. I am interested in coming but live a ways from the Smithers. Is there someone in my area that I could carpool or get a ride with?
    Please  us, and we will do what we can to help.
  4. Is ONSP a day program or an overnight program?
    We run a day program, from 9am-3pm for less advanced players and 9am-9pm for the more advanced players (with lunch and dinner breaks).
  5. If I am not from Smithers, where can I stay?
    If you are not from the Smithers area and do not have family and friends you can stay with, try to secure hotel or camping accommodation. If you are really stuck or if these options are not possible or practical, we can try to find a suitable host for you; in that case, we will put you in touch, and ask that you make the arrangements regarding dates, special requests, and airport transportation with them yourself. The application form has a place to indicate if you need help finding a host.
  6. How are the sessions organized?
    For less experienced players, the camp sessions would be during the day (except for concerts), typically from 9:00 or 9:30am to 3:00 or 3:30pm, with a short break in the morning and a longer break for lunch.

More experienced players will make up the ONSP symphony, which mainly rehearses in the evening. The evening sessions with the symphony are typically from 6:30pm or 7:00pm until 9:00pm. Advanced ONSP players, faculty and Academy students will be busy all day (9:00 or 9:30am until 9:00pm) with a 2.5 to 3-hour dinner break.  A full schedule will be posted a few weeks in advance on the Schedule page.

  1. What is the minimum experience I need in order to join Orchestra North?
    Children should be able to play basics before coming, for example, a scale and a couple tunes. Adults and teenagers may literally be beginners if they are willing to take the challenge of learning. Beginners do not necessarily need to be able to read music before coming, but must be willing to grow in their ability to do so during the week. Ability to read music will make things easier for any participant, so we suggest that you work on some basics before your the first day.
  2. What ages can come to Orchestra North?
    Anyone 7 to 97! We have accepted 6-year-olds if they have good concentration skills. Please note that anyone under 8 as of the beginning of ONSP, must have parent or guardian in attendance throughout the program.
  3. I am an adult who learned to play a stringed instrument as a young person but have not played for many years. Would this be an appropriate place for me?Absolutely! This is a great way to rekindle your love for music, relearn forgotten skills, and connect with other people with similar experiences. We have found adults and teens surprised at how much they progressed over the week. And not to worry, you may put it away again for the year and come back next year and enjoy yourself all over again!
  4. What will we do all day?
    There will be large ensemble practices (mass orchestra as well as 4 levels of string orchestras ranging from beginner to advanced), small ensemble practices (chamber music – quartets, trios, etc.), master classes (where players get a mini lesson in front of their peers). We have some recreational times (folk dancing, BBQ at the lake) sometimes do musical games for the younger ones.

Private lessons may be a special option, if you request it and if your desired instructor has time, but note that there may be an added charge for private lessons.)

Evenings for senior participants will be divided up with orchestra practice and chamber music. Wednesday evening there is also a concerto competition, open for everyone to participate and observe.

  1. Is music the only thing we will be doing?
    There are many activities at orchestra north outside of music. These include Canada Day celebrations, soccer and folk dancing. We’ve also had a barbecue supper hosted by a family at the lake and an informal (non-mandatory) hiking event. These activities are a relaxing, and needed break from playing, and a wonderful way to get moving, have fun and connect with other musicians and community members.
  2. Are meals provided?
    No- participants should bring a lunch supplied by themselves, parents, or hosts. Snacks and drinks will be provided at break times. We organize a BBQ Thursday evening, and a potluck supper before the ONSP symphony gala concert on Friday.
  3. What if I cannot come to all the sessions, or to all the concerts?
    We strongly recommend that you commit yourself to either the day or the evening sessions in their entirety, but if life prevents that, and you are an experienced enough player to “catch on” with only a few rehearsals, there may be exceptions made. Just ask and state your reasons why you will be absent. We expect all participants to come to the concerts, but we understand that sometimes exceptions need to be made. If you need an exception, send us a note so we can plan accordingly!
  4. Is there time during the program for individual practice?
    There will be time during the breaks to get some private practice in.
  5. What kind of music will we be playing? What is the difficulty level of the music?Between all the orchestras and chamber groups we play a mix of baroque, classical, romantic, contemporary (modern), popular, spiritual and fiddle-type music. Some music may be even arranged or composed by the group at hand. Each year we do work from northern (living!!) composer. Music is carefully chosen to be appropriate for the abilities of each group. For the mass numbers, the music is arranged to accommodate all the players in the camp from beginner to very experienced.
  6. Is music available in advance of Orchestra North so that the participants can practice prior to attending?
    We will have some of the most significant works available to download and print off our website. But much of the music isn’t sent to players in advance. There are a number of reasons why this is not done. (a) The instructors do not know who, how many, and at what level the participants will be. (b) It is a learning experience to be given music, cold, at the beginning of the week, and to work at it together to make beautiful music by the end of the session. Everyone comes away with a new level of confidence, as well as an opportunity to develop sight-reading skills.
  7. What is the cost for attending and what is the money used for?
    This program is very heavily subsidized, and we make every effort to keep tuition rates at a fraction of the actual cost of camp.

Click Here to view registration fees for Orchestra North Smithers

We do have some donations that we may distribute as bursaries if these fees would make attending ONSP difficult for you; please us.

Current participation fees are only possible because of very generous private and corporate sponsorship, including many financial and in-kind donations- if you are in position to be able to make an additional donation to Orchestra North, we would be very grateful.

  1. When do I have to apply by? When and how do I pay?
    Online applications are due by May 15th to qualify for our early bird discount. After this date, tuition is increased for all programs. to register visit
  1. Are any other fees involved?
    Since we provide snacks, we ask that each family bring something to contribute. If that is logistically difficult, please bring $10 so our snack people can buy what they need for your snacking pleasure.
  2. How does one qualify for a bursary and how much can one expect to receive?We distribute bursaries based on a need for assistance. College students are the first on our list of people to assist, but we assist families and others who need help. Bursaries range between $50 to $150. Do not hesitate to ask for assistance if finances prevent your attendance as we do have some donations for this purpose. Conversely, if you are in a financial position to make a bursary donation, do consider doing so- it might allow another participant to attend!
  3. How can a participant apply for a bursary?
    Please send us an email telling us what your financial needs are, and how much bursary you would require in order to attend ONSP. We will do our best to find something that works.
  4. Where are the concerts and when?Please see the concert schedule on our main page.
  5. What should we wear for concerts?To uphold the traditions in orchestral playing, we dress up for the formal Friday concerts.

Friday Concert Clothes:

Beginners: Black bottoms & black or white tops,

Intermediate/Senior/Winds: All black.

-You can chose to wear a black tie or not. Girls and women wear black pants or long black skirts, and “white” means crisp white tops (white, not cream or off-white and no T-shirts, sweaters, or jerseys.)

-Please wear black socks or nylons (bare legs for girls and women is allowed), and black shoes or sandals (no flip-flops).

-No short skirts (must cover the knees while seated, or wear black leggings).

-Classics on Main: Casual, or attire can be agreed on by your chamber group.

  1. Can you tell me more about the instructors?
    Yes! Our instructors all hold at least a Bachelors or Masters degree in music, and we chose them to suit the needs and the energy of ONSP, See the “Faculty” pageon the website.

If you hold at least a Bachelor’s degree and wish to become an instructor, please us. If you do not have a degree but want to get involved as a TA or instructing, please consider our Academy program and send us a note telling us why you would like to be part of the Orchestra North Team.

  1. Is there a Facebook page for Orchestra North?
    Yes, click here and “Like” us. Updates and events for our sessions will be posted there, along with photos and some videos.
  2. Will there be tickets/cost for the concerts?
    All Orchestra North Concerts a free/by donation. Our generous concert supporters help make Orchestra North happen!
  3. Are there going to be photos of myself or my child posted?
    There might be. Applying to Orchestra North indicates your consent for photos to be published in our online albums.
  4. May I post videos of the camp rehearsal on social media?
    Videos are a bit tricky – please send the video to us to be sure we approve before you post. But feel free take and post photos. And share any videos or photos with us on dropbox!.
  5. Is my contact information going to be kept private when I apply?
    Organizers require personal information, but names, email addresses, and phone numbers will not be published with the following exceptions:
  • Names of the concerto competition winners will be published.
  • Names and cities of participants are printed in programmes and emails to participants.


  1. What are the goals for the Orchestra North Summer Program?

Our mandate is as follows:

To inspire musical excellence and an artistic identity in northern Canadian communities, and to connect northern audiences to their own classical composers and performers.

Our objectives are:

-Building communities through mentorship and by encouraging healthy collaboration between northern musicians at any skill and level

-Nurturing the potential for musical excellence in the north

-Providing exposure and performance opportunities for northern musicians and composers

-Providing high quality performances for northern rural audiences, enriching their musical experience through education and inclusivity

-Enabling large-scale opportunities such as symphony orchestras and concerto opportunities that might be otherwise unavailable for northern audiences and players.