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NYS Policies and FAQ 


The primary outcome of the auditions is assignment to one of the five Norwalk Youth Symphony orchestras. Acceptance and placement decisions are at the sole discretion of the conductors' considerable professional judgment and are final. Orchestra placements will be posted on the NYS web site during the week preceding the first rehearsal. Orchestra placement as well as seating assignments will be posted in the lobby at the first rehearsal.


The audition is also important as an aid to the conductors in determining seating assignments. Seating in an orchestra is not determined by ranking. Rather, it is done in the best interests of the individual musicians and the orchestra as a whole. String players will NOT necessarily be seated according to ranked ability but by the conductor in such a way as to best benefit the orchestra. Changes in strings seating may be made throughout the year. This may involve rotation back and forth between the first and second violin sections.


At Norwalk Youth Symphony (NYS), our mission is to inspire and enrich the lives of young people through music.  In achieving this mission and administering its music and educational programs, admissions, musician placements and scholarships, NYS does not discriminate, and denounces all forms of discrimination, including on the basis of color, race, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, genetics, physical characteristics, economic or social status, or any other characteristic protected by law and regulations.  

NYS is committed to ensuring that our musicians are able to grow and learn in a diverse environment that is safe, inclusive and free of bullying and retaliation.  We recognize that every individual has a unique experience and perspective, and our musicians should feel welcomed and encouraged to be themselves when playing music and interacting with others within the NYS organization.  


We invite open and ongoing conversation with our musicians, parents, conductors and staff to continually improve our efforts to be a dependable ally against any form of discrimination.  Should a musician, parent, staff member, or conductor suspect or believe that discrimination, bullying, or harassment is occurring, a report should be made immediately to the NYS Executive Director. Reported concerns will be investigated promptly, thoroughly and impartially, and confidentiality will be maintained throughout the investigatory process.


NYS is committed to supporting and cooperating with school music programs. We are grateful for the support and referrals we receive from school music teachers; in turn, we believe that our members contribute back positively to their school music programs. Consequently, NYS does not operate as a substitute for school instrumental programs and NYS members are required to participate in their school instrumental programs, where they exist. Conflicts that prevent participation should be brought to the attention of the Executive Director as soon as possible.


It is expected that all members will pursue private study on their orchestral instruments. Limited scholarship assistance for private lessons is available.


The Norwalk Youth Symphony's insurance policies do not cover instruments owned by individual members. Please check your own household coverage.


Each player is responsible for the care of his/her music and for bringing it (in its binder) to all rehearsals. Music is distributed at the beginning of each concert period. There is a $5 fee to replace music after the second rehearsal for each concert.

The use of cell phones and other electronic devices is not permitted during rehearsals or concerts. Anyone found using one will have their cell phone/electronic device confiscated until the end of rehearsal or concert. Consequences for habitual cell phone use, disruptive behavior, etc., may include being placed on probation, being seated at the back of a section, or other actions that may be appropriate.



When joining the program, we ask that students make a commitment to the program and its rehearsal schedule and avoid scheduling other activities during the scheduled orchestra rehearsals and performances. Attending rehearsals strengthens the group as an ensemble and enhances the student's experience. Although we expect students to commit to attending every rehearsal, we know that there are cases such as religious commitments when conflicts are unavoidable. Students are allowed a maximum of two (2) absences during each concert rehearsal period. Requests for exceptions should be raised in advance to the Executive Director, who may consult with the Executive Committee if needed.  Please note that there are mandatory rehearsals for each concert period. These dates are noted in the rehearsal schedule. Absences at mandatory rehearsals may result in the musician not performing in the concert or dismissal from the program.

Rehearsals start promptly at the time indicated on the schedule. Musicians should be fully warmed up and in their seats with their instruments tuned prior to the start of rehearsal. Excessive tardiness, at the discretion of the conductor, may affect seating placement or removal from the orchestra.

Concert attendance is mandatory. Absence from a concert may result in dismissal from the Orchestra for the season. Extraordinary circumstances will be reviewed by the Executive Director and the Executive Committee. Absence from the May concert may result in the inability to participate in the following season, subject to review by the Executive Director and the Executive Committee.

Due to the large number of musicians in the Orchestra, we ask that all communications regarding attendance be reported on our website or via email directed to the Executive Director. Please do not phone or text your absence information, as we need to have a record of the absence.



A dress code enables the orchestra to match visually the artistic unity and professionalism that it strives to convey musically in performance. If you have any questions about an article of clothing or need help in acquiring an item, please contact the Executive Director Sara. Review your performance dress well in advance so you don't find yourself unprepared the day of the performance.

All Orchestras
Required: Black shoes and black socks/stockings
No sneakers, sandals, jeans, leggings or tight fitting pants. No bare arms, midriffs, legs or feet.

Prelude & Philharmonia Orchestras Long sleeved solid white shirt/top
Plain black slacks/full black skirt
Long conservative dark tie (Boys)

Concert and Principal Orchestras

Long solid black dress, ankle length skirt or black dress pants (Girls) Long sleeved solid black top (Girls)
Black suit and white shirt (Boys)
Long solid dark tie (Concert Boys)

Black bow tie (Principal Boys)


It is the tradition at NYS concerts that those members who are not performing sit in the audience while their peers play. This gives them a chance to hear the other orchestras and to get a sense of the continuity that the organization provides through its graded orchestra system. As a courtesy to their fellow performers, all musicians are expected to remain until the final group on the program has finished its performance.

There is a standard of behavior expected of those in the audience that is as follows:

  • Musicians are expected to sit quietly in their seats. 

  • There is to be absolutely no talking during a performance. 

  • No one is to leave the auditorium except during breaks between orchestras and then only singly or in the company of one other musician. 

  • The same courteous attention should be paid to those on the stage as one would expect to receive when it is his or her turn to play. 

  • It goes without saying that horseplay and other such inappropriate behavior is not acceptable. 

  • Musicians’ cell phones and other electronic devices are not to be brought into the auditorium. 

  • Parents, please discuss this important matter with your child before the concert. We all want the

  • concerts to be special, so it would really be unfortunate if a few members marred the impression that our fine performances create for our audiences. 

If bad weather causes a rehearsal cancellation, a message will be posted on our web site and Facebook page. A message will be left on the office phone and cell phone. Please remember that NYS members come from over two dozen different communities, some of which have more severe weather problems than others. If a rehearsal is not cancelled and you have concerns about your child’s safety in traveling to Norwalk, we urge you to use your best judgment. Such absences will not count as one of the two allowed absences of the concert period. Please submit an absence online if you decide not to send your child. 

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