Youth Orchestra

Wheeling Symphony Youth Orchestra Holds Annual Bluegrass BBQ Fundraiser at Oglebay Park

Wheeling Symphony Youth Orchestra (WSYO) Bluegrass BBQ will be held at Hess Shelter, Oglebay Park on Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021 from 2:30 – 6:30 p.m.  The event will feature music by local bands: Faire May, Kanawha and The Jim and Bailey Band with a special performance by members of the Wheeling Symphony Youth Orchestra.   A menu of delicious barbeque food will be prepared by Chef Charlie Schlegel.  The event is sponsored by WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, Main Street Bank and Commonwealth Financial Services.

The Wheeling Symphony Youth Orchestra offers young musicians from the tri-state area a formal venue to train and perform together under the direction of Benjamin Podolski and Catherine Baker.  Mr. Podolsk, conductor of the WSYO’s high school and college group, the Philharmonic, says that, “Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the youth orchestra had a productive year in 2020.  By staying connected via Zoom in the early part of the pandemic and beginning in-person rehearsals in January, the group was able to perform a spring concert in May.”

Catherine Baker, who conducts the WSYO middle school ensemble, the Sinfonietta, is returning for her second year as the group’s leader.  She was impressed with how hard the young musicians worked last year and is eager to resume rehearsals this month.  “With each rehearsal, our students get better and better,” says Baker.  “I can’t wait to see how they have continued to grow as musicians over the summer months, and I look forward to welcoming new students as well.”

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The Bluegrass BBQ raises funds which enable the Wheeling Symphony Youth Orchestra to continue its tradition of providing a tuition free opportunity for young musicians to rehearse and perform challenging repertoire with like-minded students.  The WSYO performs two concerts each year which are free and open to the public.  For more information about the Wheeling Symphony Youth Orchestra, please visit


Tickets to WSYO Bluegrass BBQ are $25 for adults and $10 for children and can be purchased by phone at (304) 232-6191, via email at, or in person at the Box Office, located at 1025 Main Street, Suite 811, Wheeling, WV 26003.



Wheeling Symphony Youth Orchestra (WSYO) was founded in 1986 under the auspices of the Wheeling Symphony as a strings program. Over the next two years, winds, brass and percussion sections were added, and in 1988, the program became an independent entity—OVations Youth Orchestra.

Since 2001, the youth orchestra has been managed by the Wheeling Symphony Society, Inc and offers young musicians the opportunity to train in a professional organization and under the guidance of our professional musicians and Music Directors Benjamin Podolski and Catherine Baker. Competitive auditions draw students from West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The WSYO presents two primary concerts each year, which are free and open to the public.