With the Covid-19 outbreak, it is not quite the spring we were anticipating, with scheduled concerts and public presentations cancelled so disappointingly close to performance dates. Nevertheless, we can all still make music! ARYO has been offering weekly online group sessions for registered students, since Tuesday, April 7th and our site will feature a regularly updated youtube link to inspiring string/chamber music performances, right here:

FEATURED PIECE: India Yeshe Gailey, Acadia School of Music graduate (’16), playing “The Paris Sky”, by Philip Glass

ARYO 2019-2020 SEASON



What We Offer


String clinics: For the 2019/20 season ARYO has been offering three groups of string instruction (the “clinics”), one for beginner violin and viola and the others for beginner cello and double bass. In January 2020 we added a second level clinic for mixed instruments. The Introductory Orchestra includes all students from the instrument clinics.

The ARYO orchestra is for more advanced students, beyond the level of our instrument clinics. These students would generally be taking private lessons, though this is not a requirement.

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

Fiddle group is an intermediate level group for students of any age, from age 10 through adult, who are already comfortable with the instrument, and have some ease of playing, particularly in a group setting, although familiarity with fiddle repertoire is not necessary. (Recommended level is around RCM Grade 4 or equivalent in playing experience.) Fiddle group is also open to the participation of people playing other fiddle-friendly instruments: mandolin, guitar…

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) and their instrument rentals would be prolonged.

Although the Acadia Regional Youth Orchestra does not currently offer instruction to adult string players outside of our Fiddle Group, we would like to invite interested adult string players with 2 plus years of playing experience to contact us at <aryostrings@gmail.com> if they would like 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 outside of the ARYO program, but we would be happy to help interested players connect in this way.


The ARYO Program takes place on Tuesdays. The schedule for 2019/20 is as follows:

3:30*-4:30 pm, Violin/Viola, Cello, and Double Bass Clinics

                   (*high school students may arrive at 3:45)

4:30-5:30 pm, Introductory Orchestra

4:30-6:00 pm, ARYO orchestra

5:30-6:30 pm, Fiddle Group  


The ARYO instruction and orchestral program fee for 2019 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

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

Acadia students are welcome to join in with our ensembles for a fee of $25 per term.

In addition, 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.

Our Partnership with the Acadia School of Music

Following an invitation from the Acadia University School of Music, the Horton Community Youth Orchestra program (HCYO), which had been offered in collaboration with Horton High school for three years, moved to the Acadia University School of Music as of September 2018 and is now known as the Acadia Regional Youth Orchestra.  ARYO operates alongside the Annapolis Valley Honour Choir and the Acadia Youth Band, very successful ensembles using the Acadia School of Music facilities as well. ARYO clinics and rehearsals are held in the Festival Theatre Lobby and Stage.

Our Mission

ARYO is a Nova Scotia registered not-for-profit society.

Our defined objectives are as follows:

  1. To provide string music education and to promote string music in the Annapolis Valley
  2. To promote string and orchestra music in local and regional school programs
  3. To associate with the province of Nova Scotia’s post-secondary Music Education program through the Acadia University School of Music
  4. To collaborate with other musical groups in the Annapolis Valley Region
  5. To promote and preserve the Nova Scotian heritage of fiddle and folk music through instruction and performance

Our Instructors

Elizabeth Sircom is our 2019/20 Program Director. She works with our Introductory Orchestra and is instructor of our cello clinic.

Allison Ernst is conductor of the ARYO Orchestra and instructor of the level 2 mixed strings clinic.

Shawnee Paul is our Fiddle Group instructor.

Clayton Dawson is our bass instructor.

Keigan Richard joined us for second term as the instructor of the beginner violin clinic.

Join Us!

We really hope you will consider joining us at ARYO!  Our first three years at Horton High School and this past year 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

Logo NS flag colour

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.