Education and Community Engagement

Education and Community Engagement: Victoria Symphony in the Community

Community and Children’s Programs

VS is committed to enriching lives in our community through the shared experience of extraordinary music. Our Victoria Symphony community programs engage children, youth, aspiring composers and everyone to create a thriving music environment on Vancouver Island.


Do you like playing an instrument and working with kids?

Would you like to share your time and talents and make a difference in your community?

Join vsYOUTH Volunteers!

We are a group of high school/university aged volunteers who love playing, learning about and listening to music and enjoy working with kids.

Volunteer responsibilities include:

  • Assisting with pre-concert activities like the Instrument Petting Zoo at Concerts for Kids programs through out the season.
  • Run the Instrument Petting Zoo at community fairs, special events and for various community groups giving kids the chance to try out instruments of all types.

Benefits & Responsibilities

As a vsYOUTH member, you will:
• Gain valuable experience and develop skills in leadership and teamwork
• Introduce children and others to the world of music and musical instruments
• Make a positive contribution to your community
• Earn work experience/career education hours
• Have the opportunity to meet and learn from VS musicians
• Be exposed to a variety of musical experiences
• Be able to use the VS as a reference for jobs, scholarships and post-secondary school entrance
• Have the opportunity to attend VS concerts for free

Our volunteer hours are flexible and after 10 hours of vsYOUTH service, you are eligible for a reference and FREE Symphony tickets!

Download the vsYOUTH application.

Toot a trumpet! Visit a violin! Cuddle a clarinet!

Welcome to the Instrument Petting Zoo!

The zoo gives children (and adults!) of all ages the opportunity to try a musical instrument. It is a relaxing and fun way to spark a child’s interest in music and gives them a firsthand try of many different instruments.

Supervised by capable vsYOUTH volunteers who are experienced high school/university aged students who love music and enjoy working with kids, Zoo volunteers will  guide your child to the right way to hold, blow or bow each instrument.

vsYOUTH bring the Instrument Petting Zoo to Concerts for Kids performances, community events, schools, after-school groups and other youth community groups around Greater Victoria. We run our biggest zoo at the annual Victoria Symphony Splash in the Splash Family Zone!

Music Director Christian Kluxen and Concertmaster Terence Tam are available for speaking engagements.

VS will consider all speaker requests submitted at least 30 days in advance by groups. We cannot guarantee availability and will work with you to make the most appropriate arrangements.

Questions? Please contact Jill Smillie: 250.412.1986 or mail [email protected]

Education Concerts

The Victoria Symphony’s Education and Outreach concerts are designed for students in grades K to 7 in Victoria, Saanich, Sooke, Gulf Islands and Cowichan school districts as well as independent and home schools.

These concerts provide fun, accessible and engaging experiences while exposing students to the wonders of live classical music. Over 10,000 elementary school students on the lower Island attend these concerts!

The 2021 Victoria Symphony Education and Outreach concert has been cancelled. We hope to perform for thousands of children in 2022!

VS in Schools

Victoria Symphony Musicians in Schools aims to introduce students to different instruments, musical styles and give them a glimpse into the world of our hard-working musicians.

FREE for Middle and High Schools!

This is a unique opportunity to have a behind-the-scenes look at how orchestra musicians, conductors and guest performers prepare for their performance. Students experience the orchestra in a more relaxed and informal atmosphere. Open rehearsals generally last for one hour and give students the chance to see the orchestra, conductor and guest artist in their final dress rehearsal.

Schools may reserve a maximum of 125 seats (both students and teachers) to each rehearsal. We request one teacher per 10 students. Seats are allocated on a first come, first serve basis.

Cost: Suggested donation of $2 per student.

Catering to groups of 30 to 300, the Musicians in Schools program aims to introduce students to different instruments, musical styles and give them a glimpse into the world of our hard-working musicians. These musician ensembles bring innovative, inspiring and entertaining performances and workshops to school gyms and classrooms February through April. This program allows students to connect more directly with the musicians as well as provide a forum for open dialogue and eager questions.

Musical ensembles (featuring Victoria Symphony musicians) include:

Heavy Metal
VS Brass Quintet
Annabelle Stanley Harp Trio
Sombrio Duo

As part of our Musicians In Schools Education and Outreach Program, the Victoria Symphony is pleased to offer the Master Classes. VS musicians pair with music classes in the Greater Victoria area to offer advanced instruction for students. Each musician will attend a one hour music class with the participating school for a total of four classes per year. Please book early as musicians are on a first come, first served basis.

Specially created for preschool-aged children, Symphony Story Time offers the chance for youngsters to learn about the symphony, orchestral instruments, and what professional musicians do for a living. Highly interactive performances are tailored to active young children’s attention spans.

The Take Note program involves a VS musician visiting select schools prior to the annual Education and Outreach concert.  Creating a relationship with the students, the musician will introduce them to some of what they will hear at the concert, cool things to listen for, and talk about what it’s like to play with the Victoria Symphony. These visits give students the benefit of being ‘up close and personal’ with a symphony musician, giving them a more relevant and engaging concert experience.

We would to recognize Western Coast Insurance Services as our Education and Outreach sponsor. Thank  you for your support.

Western Coast Insurance Services

The Victoria Symphony performs on the traditional lands of the Lekwungen peoples and acknowledges with respect the Songhees, Esquimalt and WSÁNEĆ peoples whose historical relationships with the land continues to this day. We extend our appreciation for the opportunity to live, create, and perform on this territory.