Youth Orchestra Policy Handbook

Read our handbook below or click the button to download the Policies and Guidelines Handbook.

2016 – 2017 Policies and Guidelines Handbook
The Symphony of the Mountains Youth Orchestra (SMYO) is an educational project directed and underwritten by the Symphony of the Mountains. It was created as an honors ensemble for the most talented and dedicated instrumental players in grades 12 and under from the Northeast Tennessee/Southwest Virginia region. The program has grown to two ensembles that perform at least three concerts during the season. Students accepted into the SMYO will reap the following benefits:

  • Perform challenging orchestral repertoire with colleagues who are equally enthusiastic and serious about music, under the direction of a professional orchestral conductor
  • Receive free admission to masterclasses conducted by recognized professional soloists
  • Receive complimentary tickets to the Symphony of the Mountains subscription concerts

The mission of the Symphony of the Mountains Youth Orchestra is to enrich the lives of participants by providing a professional environment for the study, preparation, and performance of music; to complement participation in school music programs; to encourage and advocate music and music education in the
Northeast Tennessee/Southwest Virginia region; and to serve the community at large by providing high quality performances. Weekly rehearsals are held from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Sundays for 2½ months in the fall and again for 2½ months in the spring at the Renaissance Center, 1200 East Center Street in Kingsport,
TN, 37660.

1.0 Background Information:

The SMYO is made up of two ensembles, to serve a wide variety of ages and students at all stages of musical development. The season consists of three scheduled
full orchestral concerts. Weekly rehearsals are held on Sunday afternoons during the school year.

2.0 Two Ensembles:
A. Symphony of the Mountains Youth Orchestra (SMYO): A full symphonic youth orchestra which performs orchestral repertoire ranging from standard classics to more contemporary
selections. Membership in the Symphony of the Mountains Youth Orchestra is obtained by audition. Student musicians in grades 12 and under are invited to apply. Every member must re-audition each fall and is placed in the appropriate ensemble. Only active members in good standing will be allowed to play the concerts.
B. Symphony of the Mountains Primo Orchestra (SMPO): The SMPO is a string group that focuses on introduction to ensemble playing and techniques. The Primo Orchestra prepares
concert repertoire independently and serves as a preparatory setting for students who want to become members of the Youth Orchestra. A minimum of one year of study is required.
The student must play a selection of his/her own choice, a G Major scale, and fill out a check list to be signed by the student’s teacher. A student who auditions and is admitted into the Primo Orchestra may audition for the Youth Orchestra after one season.

3.0 Season Auditions:

Auditions for the SMYO are held in August for the upcoming season. Students will either be placed in the Youth Orchestra or given the opportunity to join the Symphony of the Mountains Primo Orchestra.
3.1 Mid-season Auditions and Registrations:
A. Youth Orchestra: Mid-season auditions are held by appointment only if openings occur in the Youth Orchestra. In rare circumstances, outstanding string players may have the
opportunity to join the Youth Orchestra mid-year.
B. Primo Orchestra: This ensemble accepts additional students at mid-year. Please contact the Youth Orchestra Manager for information and audition scheduling.
Note: Since the commitment to the Symphony of the Mountains Primo Orchestra is for the entire season, only rarely will students placed in the SMPO be allowed to audition to move to the Youth Orchestra mid-season. A Symphony of the Mountains Primo
Orchestra member may audition for the SMYO mid-year only if openings exist and if the Symphony of the Mountains Primo Orchestra conductor has recommended the student for the audition.

4.0 Concert Attire (Read carefully!):

Dress codes are useless if they are not enforceable. In the event a musician arrives at the warmup dress rehearsal in attire that does not fit the guidelines, he or she will be asked to immediately make arrangements to retrieve the correct clothing.
Men: Long-sleeved white dress shirt, dark necktie (not a bowtie), dark pants, dark shoes, dark socks (Dark = navy blue or black)
Women: Long or ¾ sleeved white blouse, dark dress or dark skirt below the knee, or dark slacks, dark shoes
PLEASE no sneakers, jeans, short dresses, short skirts or short sleeves.

5.0 Membership Dues:

Support and Funding for the Symphony of the Mountains Youth Orchestra comes from the Symphony of the Mountains, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Women’s Symphony
Committee, the National Endowment for the Arts, and from membership dues.
Non-refundable dues for the Youth Orchestra and the Symphony of Mountains Primo Orchestra participants are $100 per student for the year, with a maximum of $300 per family, per year. Dues
are payable at the first rehearsal. Please make checks payable to Symphony of the Mountains
and include the musician’s name plus “for SMYO dues” on the memo line. Payments made at audition will be held until placement notification.
After the second rehearsal, Youth Orchestra and Primo Program participant dues will increase to $110 for the year or $60 if paid by the semester.
A limited number of full or partial scholarships are available that reduce or eliminate dues in cases of financial need. Please see the SMYO Manager.
6.0 Attendance Policy:

The members of this ensemble are outstanding young people with many commitments. Balancing these commitments is no easy task.
Musicians are urged to attend all rehearsals. Each student’s absence negatively affects the ensemble, even if the student is well prepared individually. Please schedule Sunday afternoon conflicts
during weeks when SMYO is not in session.
A. Rehearsals are scheduled from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. with a 10 minute break at approximately 3:00 p.m. Musicians are responsible to check in with the Manager (or designee), who will be
taking attendance at a table just outside the rehearsal room. In order to be marked ON TIME, musicians must arrive by 1:55 p.m.*
*LATE ARRIVAL or EARLY DEPARTURE from a rehearsal counts as ½ of an absence.
Percussionists need to arrive early enough to set up the percussion equipment before the start of rehearsal.
B. If a student misses more than two rehearsals in a semester, that musician is not as prepared as other colleagues and could possibly be asked not to perform in the concert. Musicians who miss more than two rehearsals may be required to re-audition for the conductor. They will be asked to show their proficiency by playing excerpts from the music being rehearsed. Only those musicians demonstrating that they have continued to practice and
improve during the absence will be allowed to play the concert. Musicians who are not performing in the concert are encouraged to continue participating in rehearsals until the final
C. No one may miss either of the last two full rehearsals before a concert unless granted special permission by the SMYO Conductor or Manager.

7.0 Complimentary Tickets to SotM Concerts:

Any current member of the SMYO or SMPO is entitled to a complimentary non-transferable ticket to any Symphony of the Mountains subscription concert. To obtain admission, bring some form of identification (such as a driver’s license or school ID card) to the ticket table on the night of the concert, sign the attendance list, and you will be given a ticket for the concert.

8.0 SMYO Senior Concerto Competition
A. The competition is open to high school seniors who are currently in the SMYO and have played at least one semester in the Youth Orchestra before entering the competition.
B. Choice of repertoire must be approved in advance by the SMYO conductor, as certain concerto accompaniments are unsuitable for the Youth Orchestra. All works must be for solo instrument(s) and orchestra.
C. Students interested in auditioning must contact the SMYO Manager before October 1st. Please obtain and fill out a Concerto Competition Application form specifying your name, contact information and proposed choice of work. Auditions will be held in December.
The judges may hear only a portion of each work. The winning solo will be played with the orchestra on the spring concert, but piano accompaniment may be used at the auditions. If an accompanist is wanted at auditions, each soloist must hire his/her own accompanist.
Having an accompanist is not required in order to participate in the competition.
D. The chosen winner(s) may be asked to play only a movement or excerpt from the work at the performance and to pay for fees associated with the rental or purchase of their work.
E. The SMYO Artistic Committee will judge the competition. All decisions are final.

9.0 Musicians’ Family Support Opportunities:

The Symphony of the Mountains Youth Orchestra is a volunteer organization. Musicians’ families are asked to help with various things during the year. This helps to keep our organization’s dues at an affordable level.
Listed below are ways families can help.
A. Coordination Assistance: Assist the Manager by taking attendance, collecting dues, or doing other tasks as needed at various times.
B. Concert Reception Refreshments: A reception organized by the Women’s Symphony Committee is held after the fall and spring concerts to allow the musicians and audience to mingle and visit after the concert. Musician’s families are encouraged to sign up
to provide cookies or some other treats for these receptions.

1. SMYO (Youth Orchestra) members interested in auditioning for membership in Symphony of the Mountains must be recommended by the Youth Orchestra Conductor, to audition for the Conductor/Music Director of the SotM. Auditions will be granted only if there is an opening in the Symphony of the Mountains.
Auditions are not routinely granted to Youth Orchestra members.
2. Auditions will consist of:

  • Prepared work (movement from a major concerto, sonata or works of similar difficulty)
  • Orchestral excerpts, obtained in advance from the SotM librarian
  • Sight-reading and scales at the discretion of the SotM conductor

3. Youth Orchestra members accepted into the Symphony of the Mountains must prepare all parts in advance of the first rehearsal and MUST ATTEND ALL SotM REHEARSALS for the concerts that they will play. NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS POLICY WILL BE GRANTED.
4. Youth Orchestra members accepted into the Symphony of the Mountains must continue to play in the Youth Orchestra.

11.0 Inclement Weather Policy:

Unless the weather is hazardous, rehearsals are generally
not cancelled. In case of snow on a rehearsal day, go to after 11 a.m. on rehearsal day. Mr. Bader will post there whether or not there is a rehearsal.