The Skule™ Orchestra is a 60 member symphonic orchestra of string, wind, and percussion instrumentalists. The orchestra is a place for students to have fun performing challenging repertoire ranging from Mozart to Mahler. The Orchestra holds weekly rehearsals and attends various events during the year, including concerts, a clinic, trips to local music events, socials, and Moment, the Valentine's Ball.
The orchestra was founded in 2006 as the Skule™ Chamber Orchestra by Geoffrey Siu, Walter Chan, and David Lee, as a place for students who played a wind or string instrument in high school to continue their musical pursuits. With help and financial assistance from the Engineering Society, the Alumni Association, the Division of Engineering Science, and the office of the Vice Dean Prof. Evans, the orchestra came to life. Over forty members showed up to the first rehearsal - and kept coming back - forcing the name of the ensemble to be changed to Skule™ Orchestra.
The orchestra's first event was Skule™ Music Concert at the J.J.R. MacLeod Auditorium in the Medical Sciences Building, which attracted hundreds of students, staff, and faculty. Later in the year, Dr. Wayne Jeffreys, a professional musician from Vancouver, visited the orchestra to conduct a clinic, and the orchestra finished the year with a spectacular Symphonic Boom.
In its second year, the orchestra looked to integrate itself more into the engineering community by hosting a unique new event called Moment, the Valentine's Ball. Held in Hart House Great Hall, Moment featured live waltzes from the orchestra, sumptuous hors d'oeuvres, and professional dance instruction, and was a grand success. In 2009, the orchestra performed with world-famous soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian and acclaimed conductor Julian Kuerti in the Engineering Science 75th Anniversary Concert.
- Open Rehearsal (September): The first rehearsal of the season, this takes place before our auditions. Anyone interested in the orchestra is welcome to attend.
- Concerto Competition (Fall): An annual competition where soloists compete for a chance to perform backed by the orchestra at Symphonic Boom.
- Pops (November): The season opening concert where the orchestra performs a selection of well-known music, often from movies and/or video games.
- Skule Music Concert (Early December): The final concert of the fall semester, where all Skule Music ensembles get a chance to perform.
- Moment, the Valentine's Ball (February): A unique event where guests are treated to a professional ballroom dance lesson before spending the evening waltzing to live orchestral music.
- Symphonic Boom (Late March / Early April): The season finale, showcasing the orchestra's most challenging yearly repertoire. This typically includes an overture, a solo work chosen by the Fall concerto competition, and a full symphony.