WA Schools' Senior Orchestra Festival

WA Schools' Senior Orchestra Festival

This event is run in partnership with the Australian Band and Orchestra Director's Association (WA).

Event details

Date: Saturday 5 August 2023

Venue: Churchlands Senior High School

Eligibility: The festival is open to any public school or non-government school string or symphony orchestra, with divisions catering for young or middle school orchestras, unbalanced orchestras and experienced senior orchestras.

Applications: To be announced

Tickets: Tickets can be purchased at the event only, there are no presales. Ticket prices for audience members are:

  • $7.00 Adults
  • $5.00 Concession

Programs are $3.00, cash and card facilities are available at the venue.

Note: Performers and directors will be admitted without charge.

Changes to the 2023 festival
  • The 2023 festival is performance only, there are no workshop options available. Workshops will be available in 2024 and will alternate years with the Junior Orchestra Festival.
  • All orchestras will perform in one venue, the concert hall at Churchlands Senior High School.

The aims of the WA Schools' Senior Orchestra Festival are to: 

  • give orchestras a performance opportunity at an international standard venue.
  • give orchestra members an opportunity to hear other orchestras perform.
  • provide each orchestra with constructive comments from a panel of informed adjudicators.
  • provide orchestras with the opportunity to work with top level directors in a workshop format.
  • present to each orchestra an adjudication and certificate which recognises its participation and recognised standard of performance.

Orchestras perform within a division with a panel of adjudicators providing written and spoken feedback.

Directors will receive 2 recordings of their orchestra, including one with spoken adjudicator’s comments superimposed over the music.

During each performance, conductors will be filmed if requested and given constructive and confidential feedback on their conducting by an adjudicator. Feedback will be emailed to the conductor (no longer face-to-face). This has proved to be very popular with many directors, and the positive feedback that they have received has been an extremely valuable tool in their professional development.

Adjudications and certificates can be collected at the end of the festival at Instrumental Music School Services, 150 Guildford Rd, Maylands. Postage available for regional schools. 

Individual ensemble results are not posted online or announced as each ensemble can decide whether they want their results to be publicly available.

Orchestras are expected to present an appropriate program of up to four pieces, which must include one piece from the WA schools' orchestra festival - music selections list, with a playing time of up to 15 minutes for orchestras in Novice, C & B divisions and up to 20 minutes for A & Premier divisions.

The divisions and orchestra festival music selections list have been structured to conform to the following standards.

Full Orchestra:
  • Premier Division = grades 4 and above
  • A Division = grades 3 and 3.5
  • B Division = grades 2 and 2.5
  • C Division = by application only.
String Orchestra:
  • Premier Division = grades 4 and above
  • A Division = grades 3 and 3.5
  • B Division = grade 2.5
  • C Division = grade 2
  • Novice Division = grade 1.5 and below

Items of your own choosing must be of equal difficulty to those listed for the division the orchestra is performing in. Directors are advised to observe the published grade levels appropriate to each division in making additional selections.

For more information or advice on music selection, contact Andrew Patrick.

Many of the scores and parts of the music of each division can be viewed at our resource centre, contact our events coordinator, Tanya Chapman.

Disadvantaged orchestras can apply for up to 2 extra players when submitting their application. Extra players can include current students, ex-students or teachers, in special circumstances.

Many string orchestras perform at the festival with violin and viola sections standing up. To ensure that each session runs with a minimum of seating changes, these ensembles will be scheduled to perform in succession. If you require your orchestra to stand up while performing it is essential that you tick the appropriate box on the application form.

Access a stage plan for the auditorium and for the concert hall.

Photographs of participating orchestras from the 2022 festival are available for viewing and purchase at ProPhotoBooth. Use the password 'aboda22'.

One of the reasons for the outstanding success of the festival over the last 40 years is the contribution made by volunteers. Some of the tasks we need volunteers for include stage management, ticket selling and marshalling.

Volunteering is a great way to meet other directors and hear bands from other schools and divisions.

If you are interested in volunteering, register for your preferred session or sessions using the online database.

Contact us