November 16, 2018
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Austin Youth Orchestra Handbook 

Austin Youth Orchestra

THE AUSTIN YOUTH ORCHESTRA PROGRAM


The Austin Youth Orchestra (AYO) program was established to enhance orchestral music education in the metropolitan Austin and central Texas area. The various orchestras accommodate different levels of experience, playing ability, and grade groupings:

Prelude Orchestra (Grade 6 & 7 beginners), String Orchestra (Spring Semester only)
Concertante Orchestra, (Grade 3 and up) String Orchestra (Fall and Spring Semesters)
Intermezzo Orchestra(Grade 3 and up) String Orchestra (Fall and Spring Semesters)
Camerata Orchestra(Grade 3 and up) String Orchestra (Fall and Spring Semesters)
Sinfonietta Orchestra,(Grade 6 and up) String Orchestra (Fall and Spring Semesters)
Philharmonic Orchestra (Grade 6 and above), String/Full Orchestra (Fall and Spring Semesters)
Symphony Orchestra (Grade 9 and above), String/Full Orchestra (Fall and Spring Semesters)

Membership in the AYO program is open to all orchestra students (grade 3 - 12) through an audition process. It provides an enriching, rewarding experience with comprehensive and intensive orchestral instruction, and regular performances at various venues of the highest quality of literature. 

AYO MEMBERSHIP REQUIREMENTS

Membership in the Austin Youth Orchestra is open to all interested orchestra students in grades three through twelve grade who qualify through the audition process. A string student from a school with an orchestra program must be a member in good standing in his/her school orchestra. Similarly, a wind or percussion student must be a member in good standing in his/her school band program. Membership in the AYO program is contingent upon payment of tuition and return of the completed membership acceptance form with the school orchestra/band director's signature verifying that the student is a member in good standing in the school orchestra/band program. Students must provide their own instruments, accessories, a black one inch three-ring binder for music and handouts, and a pencil for each rehearsal.  Music and music stands will be provided by AYO.


ORCHESTRA MEMBERSHIP TUITION FEES

There is a $135.00 per semester tuition fee for each participating member. Tuition fees should be made on the AYO website prior to the first rehearsal of each semester. Membership in the AYO program is contingent upon payment of the tuition fee. Tuition fees made be paid by check or cash at the first rehearsal of each semester if you choose not to use the on-line payment option.

Students may not participate in the AYO program after the second rehearsal of each semester if tuition has not been paid. Contact the AYO Program Director if you need to arrange a financial payment plan. 

In the event a student decides not to participate in the AYO program after the membership tuition fee has been paid, full reimbursements will be allowed through the month of September (fall semester) or through the month of January (spring semester). There will be no reimbursements of the membership tuition fee after September 30 or January 31. Proof of payment in necessary. 



REHEARSALS AND PERFORMANCES 

Prompt attendance is expected of students at all rehearsals. The Organizer and the Conductor are to be notified in advance via e-mail or text in the event of an illness, family/personal emergency, or unavoidable conflict that will prevent the student from attending a rehearsal. 
Students are expected to be attentive and to behave appropriately at all rehearsals and performances. Inappropriate behavior by students will result in removal from rehearsals and performances or dismissal from the AYO program. Students should be in their seats ten minutes before rehearsals begin. Arriving to rehearsal more than ten minutes after the published starting time will be counted as "tardy". More than two "tardies" will be considered excessive.

Prompt attendance is expected of students at all concerts. Absences from a concert will be excused only for the reasons of illness or family/personal emergency – not conflicts with other activities – and if the Organizer and Conductor are notified in advance. An absence from a concert for a reason other than illness or family/personal emergency will result in the student's dismissal from the AYO program for the remainder of the season.

Symphony, Philharmonic and Sinfonietta Rehearsal Policies: More than two absences within each rehearsal period between concerts will not be allowed, and the two absences may not be in succession. More than two absences or two successive absences within a rehearsal period prior to a concert or excessive tardiness will result in the student's dismissal from the AYO program for the remainder of the academic school year.

Camerata, Intermezzo, Concertante and Prelude Rehearsal Policies: More than four absences or two successive absences with the semester and/or excessive tardiness will result in the student's dismissal from the AYO program for the remainder of the academic school year.


ORCHESTRA CONCERT ATTIRE 

Each orchestra member is required to perform concerts in proper attire. The concert attire for each orchestra is as follows:

Symphony
Black tuxedo with black cummerbund; white long-sleeved shirt; black bow tie; black socks; black dress shoes (no sneakers).

Floor-length modestly-cut black dress or black floor-length skirt/black full-length dress slacks (no black jeans) with black sleeved blouse; black dress shoes (no sneakers or flip flops). Dresses or blouses may not be sleeveless, shoulderless, or have spaghetti straps.


Philharmonic
Black dress pants (no jeans); black long-sleeved shirt; black long tie; black socks; black dress shoes (no sneakers).

Below the knee black skirt or dress; black sleeved blouse; black full-length dress pants (no jeans). Dresses or blouses may not be sleeveless, shoulderless or have spaghetti straps; black dress shoes (no sneakers or flip flops)

Sinfonietta, Camerata, Intermezzo, Concertante and Prelude
Black dress slacks (no black jeans); white long-sleeved shirt; black long tie; black socks; black dress shoes (no sneakers)

Below the knee black skirt or dress; white sleeved blouse; black full-length dress pants (no jeans). Dresses or blouses may not be sleeveless, shoulderless or have spaghetti straps; black dress shoes (no sneakers or flip flops)

Failure to comply with the concert attire requirements will result in the student not being allowed to perform in the concert.


CHAIR TEST AUDITIONS/EVALUATIONS

AYO Symphony, Philharmonic and Sinfonietta. 
Chair test auditions/evaluations are a necessary and helpful part of the Austin Youth Orchestra experience
  • Students will encounter these auditions throughout their musical journey.
  • The evaluations help the conductor to know the technical skills of the members of the orchestra and to coordinate that knowledge with the music being chosen to perform.
  • The evaluations are the basis for seating the members of the orchestra in an order that produces the strongest possible ensemble.
  • Chair test auditions/evaluations will happen at the beginning of each semester. No more than one evaluation per semester.
  • These chair test auditions/evaluations are not optional.
  • Members of these orchestras will submit their auditions via video recordings according to the instruction on the AYO website.
  • Students who fail to submit a video chair test audition/evaluation will be placed at the back of the instrumental section.
  • Students who do not fulfill two consecutive audition/evaluation requirements will be dismissed from the AYO program without refund of the tuition paid.
AYO Camerata and Intermezzo.
Chair test auditions/evaluations are a necessary and helpful part of the Austin Youth Orchestra experience:
  • Students will encounter these auditions throughout their musical journey.
  • The evaluations help the conductor to know the technical skills of the members of the orchestra and to coordinate that knowledge with the music being chosen to perform.
  • The evaluations are the basis for seating the members of the orchestra in an order that produces the strongest possible ensemble.
  • Chair test auditions/evaluations will happen at the beginning of each semester, and again closer to the date of scheduled performances.
  • These chair test auditions/evaluations are not optional.
  • Members of these orchestras will sometimes submit their auditions via video recordings according to the instruction on the AYO website, or the audition/evaluation may be a live playing event during the regular rehearsal. 
  • Students who fail to submit a video chair test audition/evaluation or who are not present for the live audition/evaluation will be placed at the back of the instrumental section.
  • Students who do not fulfill two consecutive audition/evaluation requirements will be dismissed from the AYO program without refund of the tuition paid.
Concertante and Prelude will not have formal chair test auditions/evaluations. Formal auditions/evaluations means students are ranked in in numerical order based on skill level
  • The conductors of these formative orchestras will determine, from observation during the rehearsals and/or sectionals, how to best seat the students to achieve the strongest possible ensemble.
  • The conductor of each orchestra may ask for checkpoint playing events during the semester to evaluate individual progress, encourage practice, and to form plans for future rehearsals.
  • The conductor will decide which player will sit in the Concertmaster and Principal chair in each section.  
  • The conductor will also designate Section Anchors. Section Anchors will be strong players seated throughout the section to produce the strongest possible ensemble. 
  • Sections Anchors will be designated with an asterisk in the program.
  







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