About the Orchestra

The Space Center Intermediate School Orchestra is a competitive and growing program. Many social events are planned as well as concerts and competitions in order to help the students make lasting friendships and have fun as they develop musical skills. 

The orchestras have won numerous accolades and performed throughout the state. Honors and awards include consistent Sweepstakes (Superior) ratings at UIL Concert & Sight-Reading Contest, students earning seats (including section leaders and concertmaster) in the Region XVII Orchestras, and Superior ratings at Solo & Ensemble.

Beginning students generally start in the 6th grade with either violin, viola, cello, or bass. Some students may begin lessons with a private lesson teacher before 6th grade, but the majority of students begin as 6th graders.

There are three advanced orchestras. Performance auditions occur in May. Audition music is used to help determine placement for each student. Along with notes on the performance audition, other aspects of the student’s performance from the current school year are considered, for example: grades in all classes, behavior (including any ISS assignments), and participation in optional/competitive events, etc.We understand that everyone has different levels of commitment to the orchestra as well as other activities in their lives. All groups need strong players and we will be looking for leaders at all levels.

The three orchestras are described below:

  • Philharmonic Orchestra picks up where the beginner class ended the previous year. Unlike the beginner class, this orchestra class includes all instruments and works more on concert music than the method book. The focus shifts to learning ensemble skills, fine tuning, and improving tone and bow control. The goal of this level is for students to refine their fundamental skills. Students are encouraged, but not required to participate in Solo/Ensemble contest.

  • Symphony Orchestra may be a two year program as it is geared toward refining more advanced musical and technical skills. Sometimes, students are accepted early as 7th grade because they complete the audition requirements at the end of 6th grade year. This group is composed of students who have demonstrated a consistent practice routine, have basic knowledge of music theory, experience playing in positions, have started using vibrato, and have solid music-reading skills. Symphony Orchestra students are required to learn the All-Region music; however, they are not required to audition for All-Region. Symphony students are required to learn a solo and participate in Solo/Ensemble contest and will be going to UIL Concert and Sight-Reading Contest in the spring. Students are also required to attend one morning sectional per week.

  • Chamber Orchestra was created to work on a higher level of literature and technique. We strongly recommend that students who want to be in this orchestra take private lessons, but they are not required. There are additional performances throughout the year (e.g. winter tour, 5th grade tour, NJHS induction, etc.). Students should have good tone, consistent intonation, solid music- and rhythm- reading skills, and a good grasp of shifting and vibrato. Chamber Orchestra students are required to audition for All-Region Orchestra and to participate in Solo/Ensemble contest. Students are also required to attend one morning sectional per week. Not all students are expected to push to become a part of the Chamber Orchestra.

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