Washington Symphony Orchestra
The Washington Symphony Orchestra (WSO) is a full symphony orchestra based in Washington, PA, that plays music people are familiar with. Referred to as the WSO, the community orchestra plays classical and light classical music, and the pops, at four concerts during their annual season, which runs from October to May.
Regular season concerts are performed in the state-of-the-art Trinity High School auditorium. Concerts highlight their performers’ talents. They showcase regional guest artists. The seats offer an excellent view of the performances and the acoustics expected at a classical event. Audience sizes reach 900 people. Concerts are free to music students. The facility is accessible.
After moving to online-only performances during the COVID pandemic, the full WSO returned with a free concert on the eve of the 2021 Whiskey Rebellion Festival and their traditional Christmas performances in December, 2021 with Ho Ho Ho with the WSO on December 4 and 5. The December performance was moved to the Washington County Fairgrounds to allow social distancing.
The word “orchestra” is a broad term for an ensemble of musicians that includes string instruments. An orchestra is referred to as a symphony orchestra when the number of musicians range from seventy to more than one hundred. Players are divided into strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion. They play symphonies. The conductor rehearses the orchestra, unifies them as a performing group, sets the tempo, shapes the sound and directs the performance itself with movements of their hands and arms.
The WSO Wind Trio and the WSO Brass Quintet are smaller groups comprised of WSO members.
High school students are selected to play alongside WSO musicians. In their Young Artist Competition, musicians who attend a Washington County school are assessed by a panel of judges to earn a cash award. Their Young Vocalist Competition sees a cash prize given to a local vocalist who is in grades 9 to 12.
Washington Symphony Orchestra is a regional leader in the performing arts. It is supported by grants, donations, sponsorships, ticket sales and program ads.
The Washington Symphony Orchestra was formed in 2002. Twenty-four musicians attended the first rehearsal. As the WSO took flight, the number of people attending its concerts outgrew its first venues. Today upwards of 200 musicians share their talents as they join in the WSO’s mission to entertain, educate and inspire the community. Half of the orchestra members are volunteers who practice and study to deliver professional quality. They’ve performed at the Whiskey Rebellion Festival and Carnegie Music Hall.
Principal Conductor and Music Director, Dr. Yugo Ikach, was brought on board in 2005.
The 2020 season was “markedly different from what our audience has experienced in the past,” the WSO posted to their website during the coronavirus pandemic. The orchestra canceled three summer programs and developed safe streaming opportunities. The office was opened by appointment only. In their only live event, in September, the WSO Brass Quintet presented a live concert at Peterswood Park in Peters Township. The crowd kept socially distant.
This article was published in and updated in