Academy of Visual and Performing Arts

La Sierra Youth Orchestra & Beginning Ensembles

Join us this February for the inaugural season of the region’s newest youth orchestra program. In conjunction with The Academy of Visual and Performing Arts, instruction is offered in classical instruments for beginning through advanced students as young as age 6.

Opportunities abound with beginning and intermediate ensembles, chamber groups, theory and history classes, and private lessons. For more advanced students ages 13–20, the premier La Sierra Youth Orchestra provides a full symphony experience under the direction of Professor John Carter.

The program’s affiliation with La Sierra University provides you, your child, or your student with access to highly skilled professional conductors, coaches and mentors. Participating university professors help create a stimulating and rewarding environment in which to grow and learn.

Rehearsals take place on Sunday afternoons in Hole Memorial Auditorium on the La Sierra University Campus in Riverside. Students must provide their own instruments and method book (assigned at registration); orchestra music will be provided. The program fee is $150 and includes registration. Beginning students do not need to audition, but must still sign up for a meeting time on Feb. 9 to register and greet the faculty. Click here to register.

Youth Orchestra Auditions

  1. 2 scales of your choice, 2 octavess each (3 octaves for violin and cello)
  2. 2 contrasting pieces of your choice that you are currently working on

*Please note that we are accepting students of all levels, including beginners.

Beginning Ensemble Information


Dr. John Carter is La Sierra University’s Assistant Director of Wind And Percussion Studies, and teaches courses in orchestration, conducting, piano proficiency, and university studies. John is also developing a new organization, the La Sierra Youth Orchestra, which will provide the greater Riverside area with a regional youth ensemble that rehearses in Hole Memorial Auditorium. A graduate of La Sierra University, John holds MM and DMA degrees from UCLA where he studied conducting under Jon Robertson and Neal Stulberg.

John has been a featured guest clinician at a number of orchestra workshops and seminars, including at the Universidad Adventista de Chile, the My Smilin’ Violin Music Camp, and for Loma Linda Academy’s Consort String music program. This Spring John will direct the Orange County Unified School District’s Honors Orchestra festival. John has also served as Director of Orchestral Studies at La Sierra University in past years, and as director of Consort Strings at Loma Linda Academy.

Previously, John lived in Portland, Ore. where he conducted the Oregon Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, the Jewish Community Orchestra, the Portland Adventist String Orchestra, the Sunnyside Brass Ensemble, the Advent Trombone Choir, and annual musical premieres with Trueheart Productions. He also taught undergraduate courses in conducting and orchestration at Marylhurst University, and was Lewis and Clark College’s interim orchestra conductor in 2008.

John has attended a number of summer conducting festivals and workshops as a conducting participant, including the Conductors Institute at Bard, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, California Conducting Institute, Rose City International Conductor’s Workshop, and Conductor’s Guild training workshops. In 2000 John attended the Aspen Music Festival and School on horn. As a pianist, John won first place in the Inland Empire Piano Festival in 1995. John is an active composer and arranger and has had several dozen works performed by a variety of ensembles. John is an active member of the Conductor’s Guild, the College Orchestra Director’s Association, and the College Music Society.

John and his wife Bonnie, an attorney and alumna of the University, live in Riverside with their three sons Rowan, Ashton, and Brandon.