Welcome to the Acadia Regional Youth Orchestra

Join Us!

ARYO is a low-cost, beginner to intermediate strings program for young people aged 10-24 and we also include adults in our Fiddle Group. If you would like to learn violin, viola, cello or double bass as a beginner or already have some playing experience, please join us!

Our season runs from Sept.-May at Festival Theatre in Wolfville (due to Covid-19, we currently have our sessions at the Horton Community Centre in Grand Pré) and consists of  two terms of 10-sessions per term.  We welcome new students, and have something to offer for young string players of all levels of experience. Beginners are especially welcome! Adults as well as young people with some playing experience are welcome to join our Fiddle Group.

To register for our 2021/22 season (see schedule below) please fill out our online form, under “Registration”. For any enquiries, contact us by email at aryostrings@gmail.com.

If you have children who are under 10 but who would like to learn a string instrument please also contact us, as we may be able to help.

What We Offer


String clinics: For the 2021/22 season ARYO will offer two group classes of string instruction (the “clinics”), one for beginner violin/viola and cello, and a second level clinic for the same instruments. Double bass instruction is offered based on an individual/small group lesson hourly fee. Registration in the string clinics includes participation in the Introductory Orchestra, which is a separate session teaching the basic techniques of string orchestra playing, through simple and attractive pieces.

The ARYO Orchestra: is for more advanced students. These students would generally be taking private lessons, though this is not a requirement. Our in-person program offers a half hour of Fiddle Group to ARYO Orchestra students.

Fiddle group: is for students ages 10 and up, adults included, who are already comfortable with the instrument and have some ease of playing, particularly in a group setting. Fiddle instruction is based on learning traditional Nova Scotia fiddle tunes together. Fiddle group is also open to the participation of people playing other fiddle-friendly instruments: mandolin, guitar…

*There is a possibility of movement between levels over the course of a year, if a student’s progress makes this desirable.

Music Festival: at the discretion of the instructors, selected groups may be offered the opportunity of participating in the Annapolis Valley Music Festival, which takes place the first week of May. In order to prepare for this, participating students would continue to come to rehearsals in the Tuesday time slot throughout April (at no additional cost).

Schedule for 2021/22 (starting Tuesday, Sept. 14th):

Our in-person Orchestra rehearsals will take place at the Horton Community Centre in Grand Pré, with the following schedule:

4:00-5:00 Introductory Orchestra — Keigan Richard

5:00-6:00 Beginner Instrument Clinic (violin/viola/cello) — Elizabeth Sircom

5:00-6:00 Second Level Mixed Instrument Clinic — Jaya Paquette-Jager

5:00-6:30 ARYO Orchestra — Keigan Richard

6:00-7:00 Fiddle Group — Jaya Paquette-Jager

(Double bass instruction—please enquire)

*Important note: if we are able to return to Festival Theatre at some point during the year, this schedule will start ½ hour earlier, running 3:30-6:30 instead of 4:00-7:00, so please keep this in mind. We chose a 4:00 start for Grand Pré because of the slightly greater travel distance for most students.

Other possible offers:

Individual lessons: In the future, if registration is sufficient, we may be able to offer individual/small group lessons through the ARYO portal as an alternative to the larger group clinics. If you think this option might interest you, please contact us.

Younger children: the minimum age for participation in our program is 10 years, although younger children who are experienced players may be accepted. However if you are interested in instruction for young beginners you may still contact us, as we would like to know what the demand for this might be and can refer you to other programs.

Adults: Although the Acadia Regional Youth Orchestra does not currently offer instruction to adult string players outside of our Fiddle Group, adult string players with 2 or more years of playing experience are welcome to contact us in order to connect with other adult players in small (self-guided) chamber groups.  These groups would not be offered as part of the ARYO program, and would need to be entirely self-organized, but we would be happy to help interested string players connect in this way.


The ARYO instruction and orchestral program fee for 2021/22 is $150 per student (20 instruction weeks per year, September-April), with a family rate if more than one child from the same family is enrolled, as follows:

1st family member: full program fee $ 150

2nd family member: 10% reduction $135

3rd and more family members: 20% reduction $120

Acadia students special rate: $25 per term.

The Fiddle Group fee is $50 per term (2 terms per year).

Rentals: ARYO participants may rent instruments from ARYO for the duration of the program at a preferred rate of only $100 for violins and violas, or $150 for cellos, plus $50 security deposit. Instrument rental may be continued through the summer for an additional cost of $50.

Join Us!

We really hope you will consider joining us at ARYO!  Our first three years at Horton High School and two years at Acadia were very successful, and we are very much looking forward to continuing our mission of offering the opportunity to learn string instruments and to play in string and full orchestra to as many students in the Annapolis Valley region as possible.

You are welcome to contact us with any questions or for more information at aryostrings@gmail.com

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ARYO recognizes the support of the Province of Nova Scotia. We are pleased to work in partnership with the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage to develop and promote our cultural resources in the Annapolis Valley region.