The 2018 Ontario Youth Choir Program 

The 2018 Ontario Youth Choir (OYC) Program
August 10-19, 2018

Jon Washburn, Conductor
Kathryn Tremills, Collaborative Pianist
Faculty of Music, University of Toronto 

The Ontario Youth Choir Experience

Ontario Youth Choir is an intensive 10-day summer training program for singers ages 16 to 23. The program is a chance to immerse yourself in the vital art form of choral singing as part of a large group of motivated and enthusiatic individuals. 

You will spend a week at one of the music faculties in Ontario, rehearsing with and learning from an eminent conductor and a professional faculty, and then go on a mini performance tour. Ontario Youth Choir program combines rehearsals, masterlcasses, and private voice lessons with social events and activities to create an exceptional musical and educational experience. 

The Fee: The program fee is $695 which includes accommodation at the residence, meals, lessons, rehearsals, master classes, tour transportation and a professional audio recording of one of the concerts. Choristers are responsible for their travel costs to and from the OYC location. Limited bursary and travel assistance is available upon acceptance into the program to those who demonstrates the need. 

The Audition: Auditions will be held at the end of March 2018. In person auditions will be held in Toronto (March 23&24), London (April 2) and Ottawa (March 24) with a video recording made of each singer and then sent to Mr. Washburn. Singers who are not able to attend a live audition will audition via Skype.  Prepare two contrasting solos (one in English) and bring two copies of music with you. Memorization of your selections is recommended. Ear and sight-reading tests will be administered. An accompanist will be provided. 

Acceptance letters will be mailed in late April. Choristers accepted into the program are responsible for preparing the music before the camp begins and working with others to make the OYC experience a valuable one for all. 

What Sets the OYC apart?

  • The high-quality of choral performance
  • The variety and complexity of the repertoire 
  • The vocal growth experienced in just one week
  • The intensity of working in a musically-demanding environment and experience level of other choristers
  • The incredible camaraderie and development of life-long friendships
  • Performance opportunities throughout Ontario 

"The Ontario Youth Choir is not just a summer music programme - it is a high level, musically demanding, and fully immersive choral experience. Ten days spent with OYC produce incredible growth in both vocal and choral techniques, not to mention performance skills, professionalism, and an expanded appreciation for choral talent across the province. I cherish my time spent with OYC and will forever consider it a cornerstone of my early choral experiences." (OYC 2017 chorister)

" OYC is such an incredibly formative experience that I think anyone with a passion for music should audition. The opportunity to share a week with equally dedicated and enthusiastic musicians is priceless; no other programme is comparable in quality or tradition." (OYC 2015 chorister)

" As an OYC returning member, my expectations were, once again shattered by the past ten days! Nowhere else have I experienced such joy and excitement while preparing and performing choral music. Likewise, the opportunity to take this journey with 39 other amazing people (and musicians) is second to none." (OYC 2015 chorister)

Ready to live and breathe the music?
Don't delay - Apply for Audition Today!

To apply for audition, please submit: 

  • Letter of reference from your voice teacher or choral conductor (addressed to the conductor - Jon Washburn)
  • One-page summary of your musical background
  • Non refundable audition fee of $40 (via Paypal through audition form; or e-transfer to

Send your application to: Choirs Ontario, 626 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON  M5S 2R1 or electronically to 

The 2018 Ontario Youth Choir Artistic Staff: 

Jon Washburn, Conductor

Choirs Ontario is thrilled to welcome Jon Washburn as the 2018 Ontario Youth Choir conductor. Instrumental in the early success of the Ontario Youth Choir, Jon Washburn is the longtime Conductor and Artistic Director of one of Canada's leading choral ensembles, the Vancouver Chamber Choir. He is well known internationally for his mastery of choral technique and interpretation and travels widely as guest conductor, lecturer and clinician. The recipient of many awards, Jon Washburn is recognized for innovative and entrepreneurial spirit in the development of a professional choral art. Mr. Washburn announced his plant to retire from his role with VCC at the end of 2018/2019 season and we're happy to have him lead the Ontario Youth Choir and pass on his immense experience before he retires from conducting altogether. 

Kathryn Tremills, Collaborative Pianist  

We are also excited to welcome back Kathryn Tremills as the Collaborative Pianist for the OYC 2018. Kathryn Tremills has been described as "A brilliant pianist, a performer of amazing technical artistry and mature virtuosity," and "a remarkably perceptive and gifted musician." In addition to an active performing career, Ms. Tremills teaches at the University of Toronto and is a faculty member of The Centre for Opera in Sulmona, Italy founded and directed by Dr. Darryl Edwards. She has also accompanied the Toronto Children’s Chorus led by Artistic Director, Elise Bradley.

Photos from the 2017 Ontario Youth Choir program (Conducted by Elise Bradley) 



Sample Repertoire Selection: 

2017 Repertoire: O Virdissima Virga De Sancta Maria (H. von Bingen); Frohlocket ihr Volker auf Erden (F. Mendelssohn); Geistliches Lied (J. Brahms); A Sound Came from Heaven (D. Mews); Libera Me (L. Bardos); A Hymn to the Virgin (B. Britten); Sure on this Shining Night (M. Lauridsen); Sun on Water (H. Janmohamed); Last Night of Stars (D. MacDonald); Catch a Falling Star (arr. P. Sicotte); Te Iwi E (W. Whanu); Jauchzet, frohlocket (JS Bach); Zigeunerleben (R. Schumann); Daemon Irrepit Callidus (G. Orban); Sonnet 43 (L. Hawley); Ain't that Good News (arr. Dawson); Lamma Bada Yatathannaa (arr. S. Abu-Khader); Arirang (arr. G. Cochran); Si Manu Laititi (arr. S. Rapana)

2016 Repertoire: Libera nos, salva nos (J. Sheppard); Light:Suspended (H. Janmohamed); Richte mich, Gott (F. Mendelssohn); Hear My Prayer (J. Enns); Kyrie (S. Dobrogosz); Immortal Bach (K. Nystedt); Ergebung (H. Wolf); Tundra (O. Gjeilo); O Lux Beata Trinitas (K. Matsushita); Sweeteest Love (M. Emery); Si, ch'io vorrei morire (C. Monteverdi); Norwegian Wedding March (arr. G. Pedersen); Full Fathom Five (A. Bevan); Under the Greenwood Tree (B. Carriere); Stars (E. Esenvalds); Lost in Stars (K. Weill); Chants d"Auvergne (J. Canteloube). 

Click HERE to see concert recordings on Youtube.