WA Schools' Junior Orchestra Festival

WA Schools' Junior Orchestra Festival

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

Event details

Date: Saturday 7 September to Sunday 8 September 2024.

Venue: Churchlands Senior High School.

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

Applications: Applications open Week 4, Term 1 on 19 February 2024.

Tickets: Tickets can be purchased at the event only (no presales). Performers and directors will be admitted without charge. Ticket prices for other audience members are:

  • $7.00 Adults
  • $5.00 Concession

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

Changes to the 2024 festival
  • Payment for entry fees has changed to allow an option to pay by credit card. Details are available on the application form.
  • Workshops are available in 2024. Please indicate whether you would like to opt into a workshop on your application.
  • Both the Concert Hall and Paul Latham Auditorium are available as performance venues. Please indicate your preference on your application.
  • The conductor's feedback is no longer face-to-face, it will be emailed to directors after the festival.
  • You will need to submit your scores as a PDF via the online application.

The aims of the Junior 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.
  • present each orchestra with 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.

Novice Division orchestras can select whether to be graded or not. Those not graded will receive adjudication comments and a certificate of participation. Directors will receive 2 recordings of their orchestra, including one with spoken adjudicator’s comments superimposed over the music.

Orchestras can opt into a workshop directly after their performance given by one of the two adjudicators who have just listened to their orchestra. This allows students direct contact with the adjudicators and offers a greater amount of educational value to students’ involvement in the festival.

During each performance, conductors will be filmed if requested and given constructive and confidential feedback on their conducting by an adjudicator. Feedback will be given electronically (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 is available to regional schools.

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

Orchestras from Premier, A, B, C and Novice Graded Divisions 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 2023, with a playing time of up to 15 minutes for orchestras in Novice, C and B Divisions and up to 20 minutes for A and Premier Divisions. Orchestras in Novice Ungraded Division may present a program entirely of their own choice.

The music selections list conforms 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. Please email Tanya Chapman at tanya.chapman@education.wa.edu.au.
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

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 orchestras 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.

Photographs of participating orchestras from the 2023 festival are available for viewing and purchase at ProPhotoBooth. Use the password 'aboda23'.

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.

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