Kingston Community Strings
Kingston Community Strings

The Kingston Community Strings is a 40 to 50-member amateur string orchestra. Membership in the ensemble is available without audition to players at any level of development. This group plays a variety of string orchestral repertoire and performs concerts at various functions throughout the community. New members are always welcome and encourage anyone interested in joining our ensemble to contact us.


Kingston Community Strings is composed of musicians of all levels of ability. Membership in the ensemble is available without audition. Principal musicians of each section are experienced, some are current or former Kingston Symphony members. Rehearsals take place every Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Christ Church Cataraqui on Sydenham Road. Our season usually lasts from September to late May. Kingston Community Strings play music from early Baroque to modern compositions and arrangements. Each season our aim is to expand our library and present repertoire that is fresh and invigorates our members and audiences.

Generally, Kingston Community Strings presents two or three concerts per year, often partnering with local soloists or other local groups such as Orchestra Kingston or Canta Arya Strings. Some of the money raised from ticket sales goes to local charitable organizations and some covers Kingston Community Strings expenses. Kingston Community Strings is proud and fortunate to function under the umbrella of the Kingston Symphony Association.

Become a Member

Kingston Community Strings welcome string instrumentalists (violin, viola, cello and bass). There are no auditions, but in order to keep up with the group, it is best to have a firm grasp of musical notation and preferably at least a few years of study on your instrument. The ensemble plays music of a variety of levels. Some pieces are very straightforward while others are symphonic music in its original form. Therefore, this is not the group to learn how to read music or learn basic instrumental technique. However, they have had novice players successfully join, playing as much as they are able at the beginning, and, being immersed in the full string orchestra environment, improve tremendously in a short amount of time.

Interested musicians are encouraged to attend two or three rehearsals in order to self-assess whether Kingston Community Strings is right for them. While you can just show up at one of our rehearsals, we encourage you to let us know ahead of time by contacting Stephen Yates, General Manager. The annual membership fee is $150.

Music Director

Hugh Johnston was a regular player in the Kingston Symphony trumpet section from 2001 to 2012 and is an award-winning music educator. He won the MusicCounts Teacher of the Year Juno Award in 2012. Hugh has trained as a musician and conductor at Queen’s University, University of Calgary, and University of London, U.K. His expressive and communicative conducting style, as well as his work in music education, has enabled him to conduct performances at Orchestra Hall in Chicago, Carnegie Hall in New York, and Cadogan Hall in London, home of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

In addition to orchestral work, Hugh has conducted numerous musicals, operettas, choirs, bands, and brass ensembles and was the founder and artistic director of Kingston Summer Music, a summer program for Kingston’s youth.