Meet the Wheeling Symphony Youth Orchestra

Wheeling Symphony Youth Orchestra

The Wheeling Symphony Youth Orchestra (WSYO) offers young musicians from the tri-state area a formal venue in which to train and perform together.  Students from junior high school through college are provided with a professional musical environment and tutelage by Music Directors Benjamin Podolski and Rayce Leib. Competitive auditions draw students from West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Rehearsals are held weekly from September through April, and the WSYO presents two primary concerts each year. These concerts are free and open to the public.

For information on becoming a concert sponsor or making a donation to the WSYO, click here.

Wheeling Symphony Youth Orchestra History

The Wheeling Symphony Youth Orchestra was founded in 1986 under the auspices of the Wheeling Symphony as a strings program.Over the next two years, winds, brass and percussion sections were added, and in 1988, the program became an independent entity—OVations Youth Orchestra. As OVations, the organization comprised the full orchestra as well as a number of smaller ensembles. The group has toured twice internationally: to Australia in 1997 and to Europe in 1999. Past Music Directors have been Walter Curtis, Martha Curtis, Leo Ficks, Elisabeth Heath Charles, Dr. Laura E. Schumann, Ben Podolski, Pat Garrett and David Tang.

Since 2001, the youth orchestra has been managed by the Wheeling Symphony Society, Inc. The WSYO provides educational opportunities and orchestral training, sometimes even with members of the professional Wheeling Symphony Orchestra. In the fall of 2010, the WSYO introduced its Strings Mentorship Program. Three former members of the youth orchestra, now music educators, returned to the WSYO to provide valuable coaching throughout the rehearsal and performance process.

Highlights of past seasons include a joint concert with the internationally renowned American Boy Choir, a side-by-side performance with the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra during their Music Under the Stars concert, and performances at the Wheeling Symphony’s Viennese Ball and Patron Parties and the OVMC Gala. The 2010 Winter Concert was broadcast on WLTV.


Wheeling Symphony Youth Orchestra auditions are held each fall.  For more information, check out our audition page.  You can also contact the Wheeling Symphony office at 304.232.6191, or by email at

Learn more about the directors, members, and staff of the Wheeling Symphony Youth Orchestra: