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Groton Hill Youth Orchestras

Music was meant to be played together.

Join students from across the region in New England’s fastest growing youth orchestra program! Every Saturday, our inspiring conductors take you beyond the limits of conventional student orchestra experiences, focusing on musicianship, collaboration, and creative excellence. Through personal attention from directors and diverse and transcendent guest artists, students learn how to elevate their skills among others and, most importantly, play with heart. 
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Directors Ken Culver and Jennifer Perkins have spent their entire careers helping young people learn how to put themselves into their instrument. At Groton Hill, you’ll hear yourself in a whole new way, rehearsing and performing on one of our world-class, acoustically-tuned stages. 

NOW AUDITIONING FOR THE 2024/25 SEASON

Rehearsals are open to prospective students! Submit this preview form to schedule a visit.

Regarding any specific inquiries, see more details in FAQ, or contact our Class and Ensemble Manager.

Sinfonia Concert Orchestra

Advanced

Saturdays from 9:30-12:00

Ken Culver, Director

This advanced ensemble includes winds, brass, and percussion in addition to strings for a full orchestra experience. Through renowned orchestral literature as well as exciting and familiar contemporary soundtracks from stage and screen, Sinfonia members will take their individual playing and ensemble skills to the next level, and experience the thrill of playing in a full orchestra.

In addition, rehearsals include dispersion into smaller chamber groups; featuring select students, these allow for a more focused, intimate collaboration by instrument. Beyond musical skills, students will learn to develop leadership, concentration, cooperation, teamwork, confidence and more essential values that will positively affect all areas of their lives. 

Membership is by audition. Students who participate in both Sinfonia Concert Orchestra and Groton Hill Wind Ensemble are eligible for special discounts. 

Camerata Strings

Intermediate

Saturdays from 9:30-11:00

Jennifer Perkins, Director

As string players progress in their technical and musical understanding, a string orchestra is the ideal supplement to private study. Our Camerata Strings ensemble is designed for advanced beginner to intermediate level violin, viola, cello, and bass players. Students will learn how to be a valuable ensemble member and further develop their musicianship. Repertoire includes great compositions of past musical eras, contemporary literature of other cultures, and styles beyond classical music. Prospective students should be good music readers and be able to play a variety of rhythms, and in a variety of keys. Membership is by audition.

Chamber Strings

Beginner

Saturdays from 11:30-12:30

Jennifer Perkins, Director

For ages 8 and up. This ensemble builds on the student’s technical and musicianship skills and gets them to think beyond their own instrument. Learning to play in a group is an essential element in a student’s music education and Chamber Strings is the ideal first step beyond private lessons. Through the director’s expert but gentle guidance, young string players will learn how to listen to others, match their pitch and speed, and fit together the different musical parts that make up an ensemble composition. Prospective members should have good basic reading and rhythm skills, have a good tone, and be confident in playing in first position on all strings. Membership is by audition.

Check out our School Concerts and Events page to see what’s coming up and get tickets to a show! Students are welcome to audition and join right after a concert, to guarantee a fresh start with the ensemble.

In Conversation: Director Jennifer Perkins

Dual Enrollment

Your musicianship opportunities can span across more than one ensemble here at Groton Hill. Advanced winds, brass and percussion students have the opportunity to perform in both the Sinfonia Concert Orchestra and Groton Hill Wind Ensemble at a special discounted rate! Just select both on your audition form, and we’ll do the rest.

Merit Scholarships

Thanks to our generous donors, Groton Hill is able to provide students with need-based scholarships. Merit scholarships are available for select instruments, including viola, double reed, french horn, and double bass. Schedule an audition, in-person or video form, now for consideration.

Spring 2024 Guest Artist

A Far Cry

Members of Boston’s award-winning A Far Cry will be working with our Youth Orchestra students in Spring 2024. A Far Cry presents four genre-defining works that celebrate the concerto grosso form and highlight the dynamics that play out between players in the orchestra. Originating in the Baroque era, a concerto grosso is a form of orchestral music most notable for the oppositional relationship between a small group of soloists, or concertino, and the accompanying full orchestra, or ripieno. The solo instruments engage in dialogue and display virtuosic passages, while the ripieno supports and complements their performance. 

Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas

Saturday, October 19, 2024 —  7:30 pm

The acclaimed trad duo returns to the Concert Hall not only for an evening of cutting-edge playing, but to work with musicians of Groton Hill’s youth orchestras and students from our community outreach programs. They will end the experience with a live performance alongside Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas.

Guest Artists of 2023

RETURNING IN 2025!

The String Queens

Our Youth Orchestras had the great opportunity to work with and learn from award-winning, dynamic jazz trio The String Queens. They joined the students for a day in the Concert Hall to rehearse, explore new repertoire, perform, and connect through music. 

Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas

Students from Groton Hill’s public school string programs in Fitchburg and Lowell, MA joined members of the Groton Hill Youth Orchestra and these renowned Celtic artists for a day of learning, playing, and performing together in the Concert Hall. 

The Groton Hill Advantage

    • Inspiring Surroundings

    • Unique Opportunities

    • Welcoming Community

    • Holistic Learning

Meet Our Directors

Ken Culver

Director, Sinfonia Concert Orchestra

Ken Culver is an award winning director, conductor, and educator, as well as an active performer and concertmaster in the Rivers Symphony Orchestra. 

“Rehearsals are a place for us to work together. To form a shared idea of the musicality of the repertoire, and then to bring that vision alive and share it in our performances.”

Jennifer Perkins

Director, Camerata Strings and Chamber Strings

Jennifer Perkins has been an educator and musician for more than twenty years, directing musicals and teaching chorus, violin, viola, cello, ukulele, and piano. She is a member of the cello section with the New Hampshire Philharmonic Orchestra and the Firebird Pops Orchestra.

“We should never be afraid to make mistakes while learning or trying something new, and never be so hard on yourself that you can’t enjoy what you’re doing.”

Seasonal Scheduling Conflicts?

We know how busy you are, and that other conflicts may affect your ability to join one of our ensembles starting in September. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our Ensemble Manager to learn more about how to join later in the school year.

Student Resources

Scholarships

Need-based scholarships are available thanks to our generous community of donors, and can be easily applied for online

The Groton Hill campus features 2 world-class stages, 35 classrooms, 2 flexible performance spaces, outdoor seating, and 75 acres of protected farmland. The light-filled architecture encourages interactions between students and the artists who perform on our stages, letting us bring incredible talent into the classroom to give students unique experiences that will inspire them for years to come. 

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