Spartanburg Philharmonic Youth Orchestra

Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

1. How does a Student Join the Spartanburg Philharmonic Youth Orchestra?

Membership is by audition only. Auditions are held each May for the following season. (See below for more detailed information about Auditions.)

2. What are the age and membership requirements?

Musicians currently ages 14-19 are eligible to participate: they must turn 14 during the season, and may not be older than 19 during the season. Although not required, all musicians are expected to also participate in their school music program, if such a program exists.

3. How many concerts does the ensemble perform each year?

The SP Youth Orchestra performs 3 concerts a year. Currently, the schedule* is:

  • Sunday, October 27, 2019 @ 3:30 PM

  • Sunday, February 9, 2020 @ 3:30 PM

  • Sunday, April 26, 2020 @ 3:30 PM

*Subject to change. Students will be given a complete schedule at the first rehearsal.

4. What are the costs?

There is a non-refundable $25.00 Registration Fee to Audition (see below). After students have been notified that they have been accepted into the orchestra, there will be an additional $225.00 tuition which can be paid in 2 installments, due by October 1st. If for any reason a student must leave the orchestra, the tuition will be not be refunded.


5. Is there financial aid available?

Yes! The SP Youth Orchestra will offer sponsorships (financial assistance) to ensure that financial resources are not a barrier to participation. Families that wish to pursue this sponsorship will be given a sponsorship request form prior to the first rehearsal in August. Sponsorship can only be put towards tuition and cannot be used to cover the $25 Audition fee.


6. Do students have to be enrolled in their school orchestra/band program to participate?

The SP Youth Orchestra is committed to supporting music education in our schools. We recognize the value of school-based education. Participation in the SP Youth Orchestra is designed to enhance, not replace, school music instruction. School music programs provide essential daily ensemble and rehearsal instruction required for serious musical progress. Musicians who enroll in the Youth Orchestra are expected to participate in their school orchestra/band, if one exists.


7. If a school music requirement conflicts with a SP Youth Orchestra rehearsal, which takes precedence?

The school music requirement comes first! The complete schedule for the year will be given at the first rehearsal, so please notify us as soon as you are aware of a scheduling conflict:


Rehearsal Information

1. When does the SP Youth Orchestra rehearse?

SP Youth Orchestra season runs from August to April each year. The ensemble rehearses on Sunday afternoons from 3:00 to 5:00 PM. Click Here for the Current Calendar.

2. When is the first rehearsal?

The first rehearsal is scheduled to take place on Sunday, August 18th. A complete schedule for the entire year will be given at the first rehearsal.  In case of changes, all members will be contacted via email prior to the rehearsal date.


3. Where does the ensemble rehearse?

The orchestra will rehearse in the Mayfarth Rehearsal Hall in the Blackman Music Hall at Converse College:

Audition Information

1. When are auditions?

Auditions for the 2019-2020 season have passed, but stay tuned for next year’s auditions to be posted!

2. Where are Auditions?

Auditions are held in Blackman Music Hall at Converse College. Click Here for the map.


3. How do I request an audition time?

Once posted, you may register for an audition by following the three steps below to signing up.


Step #1 - Fill out the Student Information Questionnaire

Step #2 - Sign up online for an audition time (each instrument has a designated day/time). There are available time slots every 10 minutes. If you are unable to make one of the assigned times or the slots are all full, please contact our office at: (864) 948-9020 |

Step #3 - Pay the $25 registration fee. This can be done online when signing up for your time slot, or you may bring cash/check/card to the audition.


4. What are the details about the audition process?

         All Strings, Woodwinds, and Brass players will need to play the following at the audition (without accompaniment):

  1. Scale - You will be asked to perform one scale of your choice: two octaves (up and down).

  2. A prepared Solo or Etude that demonstrated your highest level of ability. If possible, the piece should demonstrate contrasting elements (technical and lyrical). You will be asked to perform 2 minutes or less from your solo/etude.

  3. A Required Excerpt, provided HERE. The excerpt is different for every instrument so please make sure you click on the correct instrument.

All Percussion players will play two of the etudes, provided online HERE.

  • The audition should take 10 minutes or less.

  • There will be two judges in each audition.

  • All of the music does not have to be memorized (although it does help you audition better) and the use of sheet music is acceptable.

  • If possible, please provide a copy of your solo/etude for the judges (one copy is all that is needed). If a copy is not available, a piano part or a score of the piece will suffice.

  • During your audition, you may be stopped during your solo/etude by the judges and asked to go on to the next piece. This is totally normal and should not be interpreted as a poor result.

  • When you arrive at Converse, you will check-in at the table by the upstairs entrance. You will be assigned a warm-up room downstairs. All auditions will take place downstairs. You should arrive at least 20-30 minutes before your audition to properly warm-up. Someone will come and get you from your warm-up room when it is time to audition. Parents may stay in the lobby areas upstairs or downstairs. Parents may NOT attend (sit in) the audition. When your audition is complete, we ask that you please leave as quickly as possible so that we may use your warm-up room for the next student.

  • Dressing up for the audition is not mandatory. Most students wear nice dressy/casual/comfortable clothes to the audition. We know that auditions can be stressful, so we aim to create a supportive audition atmosphere and a positive learning experience for all of you!


5. When will the results of the audition be announced?

You will receive results 5-7 days after the audition dates.


6. Does the May audition determine both ensemble membership and seating within the ensemble?

For wind players, the May audition determines both ensemble and seating placement, though seating will be rotated by piece throughout the season.

For string players, the May audition determines membership and possibly violin section assignment. Seating auditions are held approximately three weeks into the season and may be repeated after each concert. Auditions will include the music that the ensemble is rehearsing for the upcoming concert. (For example: for the seating audition in September, the conductor will choose various measures/excerpts from the fall repertoire.) Selections are announced a few weeks prior to the seating auditions to provide musicians ample practice time. All auditions will be held during a regular Sunday afternoon rehearsal time.


7. What if I have a conflict with the audition day/times?

All students must audition at the designated day/times for their instrument. If a student is completely unable to attend the audition date/time, an alternate may be arranged. Please email us as soon as possible and prior to the auditions to discuss options: