ARYO Instrument Returns & Summer Rentals

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our concert April 2nd to show your support for ARYO and enjoy the performance!   

Students who would like to return violins to us are invited to bring them (as well as the rental form) to the Festival Theatre Lobby on Tuesday April 9th between 5:30 and 7:30 PM, when our ARYO Outreach and Instrument Collection Coordinator, Elizabeth Sircom, will be on hand to receive them and check them over.  Deposit cheques will be returned to you at this time. (Reimbursements by e-transfer or cheque will go to those who paid another way.)

Please note this does not apply to cellos who will return their instruments to Elizabeth after participation in the Music Festival. 

As mentioned on your rental form, you are welcome to prolong the rental over the summer for a fee of $50. If you should choose to do this, please contact Elizabeth directly by email to let her know and so that we can arrange the payment method.

ARYO resumes September 17th, 2019

Thanks to all who supported the ARYO Program in its inaugural year! We’re thrilled to have so many students/participants enrolled. We really enjoyed working with them this year! If you’d like to further support the program as a volunteer or by becoming a member of the board of directors, please let us know.

We’re excited to announce that for the 2019-20 year, ARYO will offer, in addition to our core program, new clinics for intermediate violin students and for intermediate cello students, as well as workshops with visiting composers and musical artists. We will also add new faculty to our program.

We were fortunate, in 2018-19, to have a significant portion of the ARYO budget come from grant money. Going forward, there is a need for ARYO to become more self-sustaining. For this reason, the ARYO Board of Directors has determined it will be necessary for 2019-20 to raise registration fees to $150 for ARYO and $50 per term for the Fiddle Group. Instrument rental fees and deposits will remain the same, except the cello rental fee, which will be $150 to reflect the greater cost of cello maintenance. Please note there will be a reduced family rate for families with more than one child enrolled in ARYO for the 2019-20 year.


ONLINE – Please click the Registration button in Site Menu above

IN PERSON: Tuesday, September 10th, 3:30-6:30 pm in the Festival Theatre Lobby (504 Main St., Wolfville).  Due date for fees: Tuesday, September 17.  We can accept cheque or cash in person, or etransfers to

RENTAL INSTRUMENT PICK UP (violin, viola, and cello): Tuesday, September 10th from 3:30-6:30 pm in the Festival Theatre Lobby (504 Main St., Wolfville).  Payment of instrument rental fee of $100 for violins and violas or $150 for cellos (September-April) plus $50 security deposit required at pick-up. Instrument rental may be continued through the summer for an additional cost of $50.

What We Offer

String clinics: For the 2019/20 season ARYO will offer two levels of string instruction (the “clinics”), one for complete beginners and for students who would benefit from consolidation of their basic technique, and a second level for those who have acquired basic playing skills and can read music comfortably in first position. The Introductory Orchestra includes all students in both levels of instrument clinics with parts adapted for different playing levels.

The ARYO orchestra is for more advanced students, beyond the level of our instrument clinics. Participation in this group is at the discretion of the conductor.

*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 <> 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 proposed schedule for 2019/20 is as follows:

3:30-4:30 pm, Intermediate Violin/Viola Clinic and Cello Clinic

4:30-5:30 pm, Fiddle Group and Introductory Orchestra (ends at 5:15 pm), ARYO orchestra

5:30-6:30 pm, Beginner Violin/Viola clinic and Cello Clinic   


The ARYO instruction and orchestral program fee for 2019 is $150 per student (20 instruction weeks per year, September-April), and 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 and surrounding classrooms.

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

Dr. Gillian Smith serves as conductor of the ARYO Orchestra and teaches our violin and viola clinic, Elizabeth Sircom works with our Introductory Orchestra and is instructor of our cello clinic, and Allison Ernst and Keara Leibovitz have worked with our Fiddle Group. Dr. Christoph Both of the Acadia University School of Music is our School of Music liaison and advisor.  Other ARYO instructors will be announced in the coming months.

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