Orchestra Ensembles

Concert Orchestra

Concert Orchestra consists primarily of freshman string players.  Entrance is by audition only.  Members must have been trained in the Parkway String Program through junior high school or have had extensive private instruction.  Concert Orchestra's performance schedule will be similar to that of the other orchestras.  Punctual attendance at every rehearsal and regular home practice are requirements of the group.  The orchestra rehearses in classes with occasional after school or evening dress rehearsals.

Concert Orchestra II

Concert Orchestra II is for advanced string players.  Most members are sophomore and juniors have played at least one year in the high school orchestra program.  Members are strong players and musicians, and many study privately.  Entrance is by audition only.   Concert Orchestra's performance schedule will be similar to that of the other orchestras.  Punctual attendance at every rehearsal and regular home practice are requirements of the group.  The orchestra rehearses in class with occasional after school and evening dress rehearsals.  Concert Orchestra II may combine with Symphonic Orchestra in concerts.

Symphonic Orchestra

Symphonic Orchestra is a very intense and serious ensemble experience.  Members are very advanced players and musicians.  Entrance is by audition only.  Most members are juniors and seniors, although advanced underclassmen may audition.  Openings in the ensemble occur only as players leave or if the entire balance of the ensemble changes.  Symphonic Orchestra rehearses first period.  Punctual attendance at all rehearsals and daily home practice is a requirement.  Tardiness and frequent absence will not be tolerated.  Twice weekly winds, brass and percussion join the Symphonic Strings to rehearse as a full orchestra.  The performance schedule is intense and careful preparation is necessary.  Additional sectionals and small group rehearsals may be required before and after school.  Students who cannot make the commitment to practice daily or to attend extra rehearsals should choose another orchestra class.


General Orchestra Ensemble Information
      Every orchestra student must have an instrument at home for daily practice.   Instruments may be purchased or rented from local stores.   Students may bring home-instruments to school anytime they wish.   Home-instruments must be brought to school for tests, auditions, special rehearsals and concerts.   Home-instruments should be stored in the orchestra instrument room and not in the music office.   Bass players will only need home instruments for concerts and select dress rehearsals.
      The school owns instruments for daily rehearsal use.   These instruments may be played in class.   Students must take special care of school instruments as many are old and the repair budget is extremely limited.   A student is considered responsible for a school instrument when it is in his or her possession.   If an instrument is lost or damaged while in a student's possession, the student will be held responsible for damage.

Orchestra Text and Class Materials
      Orchestra students may need to purchase a scale or method book.   Students may purchase books in class when the need arises. Every violinist and violist will need a resonans or kuhn shoulder rest for daily school use. Shoulder rests must be used daily in class.   These items may be purchased in class or through a local music dealer.   Every student should own a folding wire music stand for special performances and travel.   They are available at local music stores or through mail order.   For example: Southwest Strings 1-800-528-3430.

Home Practice, Tests, Quizzes and Assignments
      At home practice is required.   Practice assignments will be given in class.   Playing tests and quizzes will be given frequently.   Grades will be based on achievement.     Some grades will be based on mastery of a specific skill.   Grades for mastery tests will be Pass/A= Skill has been achieved and Redo/B or lower and test must be redone. Daily home practice/homework is a class expectation.   Practice must consist of careful repetition of daily class work with attention to technical development.   Practice is not simply playing through the orchestra music the night before a quiz.  

Orchestra Seating
      Orchestra seating will be based on a combination of factors.   Seating will be based on auditions and test scores, on ensemble balance requirements, and on personal education goals.

Concert Attire
      Formal wear for all performances is long black skirt, white pleated, winged tipped tux shirt, black bow tie, and cummerbund for ladies, and black tuxedo, white winged tipped shirt, black bow tie, and cummerbund for gentlemen.   Black socks or hose and black shoes must be worn.
      The orchestras are fortunate to own tuxedos for men.   We loan them to students on an annual basis.   There is a $20.00 annual tux rental fee for men.   Parents are responsible for hemming the tux pants should they need length adjustment.   Please do not cut extra hem length off of the tux pant hems.   Tux shirts, ties and cummerbunds must be purchased by the student.   We offer a group discount price for tux shirts, ties and cummerbunds.   If you wish to take advantage of the group discount fill out the tux shirt form in the form packet.   All students must have the complete formal outfit by Prism concert.

Concert and Dress Rehearsal Attendance
      Every person is crucial to the excellence of our orchestra performances, thus students are required to attend all dress rehearsals and concerts.   Students will be excused from concerts or rehearsals only in cases of dire personal illness, a death in the family or an other extraordinary problem. Please call Mrs. Crock at 314-415-7935   if a student will be absent.   Concerts and dress rehearsals grades are the equivalent of a major test or quarter final.   Make ups are very difficult.   While the work can be duplicated, the concert situation cannot. Make ups will only be allowed in the case of an excused absence. Make up work for any excused concert or dress rehearsal absence must be made up before the end of the quarter grading period in question.   Make ups for concert or dress absence include a performance jury for the music faculty.   In case of personal injury that prohibits daily playing other work may be assigned.

Orchestra Class Absence & Tardiness
      Excessive absence and tardies will not be tolerated.   Active participation in every rehearsal is the key to an excellent music program.   Tardiness and absence directly affect student's class participation grades.   They also severely hamper individual progress and the progress of the entire group.   Punctual attendance all rehearsals is a requirement of orchestra participation.   Detentions may be assigned due to tardies.   Grade points will be deducted if students miss class warmups.

Parent Involvement
      Much of the success of our music program is due to the help of parent volunteers.   Parents who wish to donate their time and talents to the orchestras should fill out the help form in the form packet.   Many jobs only take a few hours of time.
      We encourage all orchestra parents to become a member of Music Parents Organization.   Every music department family will receive an application in the mail.   The orchestra directly benefits from your help and donations to this organization.   Parent volunteers make excellence possible in our music program.   Music Parents is also an important source of revenue for the music department through concession, sales and many other types of fund raising.     Our lead orchestra representative will contact you if you indicate you would like to help.   Please help if you possibly can.

Fund Raising
      Fund raising is an unfortunate necessity in education today.   The orchestra will have one or two fund raisers for general budget and general expenses.   We will also offer several optional fund raisers for students to help pay personal trip expenses.   Students must turn in merchandise, orders and money on or before deadlines!!!  

Orchestra Travel
      The PCHS orchestras travel periodically.   Some trips take us across the city, others across the country.   Overnight. out of town trips are planned every other year.   Trips are planned with performances and educational experiences in mind.   Trips take a great deal of planning and preparation in view of the large numbers of students involved.   We make every effort to include every student in our travels and we make every effort to keep costs as low as possible.   This year is a trip year.   We are considering one of the first weekends in April.   More information will be available soon.

Additional Experiences
Chamber Music
      Chamber music participation is strongly encouraged for all orchestra players.   Players must be willing to form small groups, prepare music and rehearse together regularly.   Coaching takes place after school on a sign up basis.   Performance opportunities exist for groups ready for polished performance.   Small chamber orchestras may be formed as need arises.

Private Lessons
      The music department strongly encourages and supports individual private music study.   Weekly individual attention by a specialist is unparalleled in helping a student develop his or her music potential.     Information on private study is available from Mrs. Crock or on the music department web site.   Finding a good private teacher whose teaching style matches the personality and practice expectations of an individual student can take some time and investigation.     Please be persistent and patient when searching for a teacher.   A special teacher can be an invaluable positive adult influence for a high school student.

Other Orchestral Opportunities
      Other orchestra ensemble experience is encouraged for everyone.   St. Louis has extraordinary opportunities for the motivated high school musician.   Webster University Community Music School has 5 levels of full and string orchestras.   The phone number is 314-863-3033.   The St. Louis Philharmonic, Clayton Symphony, Meramec College and UMSL offer additional performing opportunities for advanced high school string students.   Eligible students are strongly encouraged to audition for the renown St Louis Youth Symphony, St. Louis All Suburban Orchestra and Missouri All State Orchestra

Other Music Opportunities
      The Parkway Central Music Department offers a variety of music course work for the interested student.   Two levels of class piano, a music appreciation(designs) class, an introductory music theory class and an advanced placement honors music theory class and various others.

PCHS Orchestra Class Expectations

  1. Students will be in every class and extra rehearsal on time with instrument, shoulder rest, music and a pencil.
  2. Students will actively participate for the entire   class or rehearsal.
  3. Students will not talk or engage in behavior that will be disruptive to learning.
  4. Students will practice and prepare for orchestra rehearsals at home.
  5. Students will turn in all paperwork and equipment by the due date.
  6. Students will take care of school property and equipment and respect the property of others.
  7. Students will treat others with respect and consideration.  
  8. Students will behave in an honorable manner at all times.
  9. Students will commit to their ensemble and its performances as a whole.
  10. Students will honor the consequences of their actions.