Rivers Youth Orchestras

Rivers Youth Orchestras

The Rivers Youth Orchestra program boasts five orchestras for students ages 7-18. The orchestras perform several concerts throughout the year. Rehearsals are on Fridays at 4:00 pm throughout the school year.

More info about each orchestra:
Rivers Youth Symphony, Christopher Memoli, conductor
Philharmonia, Colleen MacDonald, conductor
Sinfonia, Susan Memoli, conductor
Preparatory Orchestra, Whitney Tandon, conductor
Primo Orchestra, Chris Brainard, conductor

Important Links:
2021-2022 Calendar
RYO Handbook
Remote/Absence Form


Current Openings:

Primo – All Instruments
Preparatory – Viola and String Bass
Sinfonia – Viola and String Bass
Philharmonia – Viola and String Bass
Youth Symphony – French Horn, Oboe, Trombone, Viola and String Bass


2021-2022 Auditions:

Click here to view and download audition requirements

Please email the Orchestra Manager for more information on auditions. We are still accepting applications for needed instruments and for waitlist. Please see important details about these virtual auditions below as well as audition information by level.

  • Families with multiple children should have a parent create an account in order to add multiple students under the correct names.
  • Student accounts for children under 13 can be created in the child’s name by a parent (please make sure the name on the application is the auditioning student).
  • Progress will be saved if you begin an application and complete it at a later date.
  • There is a $30 fee to use this service. Please let RSC know if this is a financial hardship for your family.
  • Admissions are on a rolling basis so the audition can be completed at any time.
  • Students who wish to remain in their current ensemble do not need to re-audition.

Chris Brainard, conductor
Rehearsals: Fridays, 4:00-5:15 PM

Primo is a student’s first orchestral experience. Students must be enrolled in private lessons. Candidates should demonstrate ease of playing in first position on all four strings and be able to proficiently read those notes. Students should have modest sight-reading abilities, and may be working on beginning shifting.

Audition requirements: 2 minute excerpt from 2 contrasting selections, 1 or 2 octave scales of the musician’s choice

Whitney Tandon, conductor
Rehearsals: Fridays, 4:00-5:30 PM

Preparatory is designed for young string players ready for intermediate string repertoire. Candidates can read music proficiently and have strong sight-reading abilities. Preparatory students demonstrate ease of playing in the first three positions and may be developing or playing with vibrato.

Audition requirements: 2 minute excerpt from 2 contrasting selections, 2 octave scales of the musician’s choice

Susan Memoli, conductor
Rehearsals: Fridays, 4:00-5:30 PM

Sinfonia is for musicians who can rehearse and perform intermediate through medium-advanced string orchestra repertoire. Candidates are able to use a variety of bow strokes, demonstrate use of vibrato, and comfortably play in the first four positions.

Audition requirements: 2 minute excerpt from 2 contrasting selections, 3 octave major scales of the musician’s choice through 3 sharps and 3 flats (violin/viola/cello), 2 octave major scales of the musician’s choice through 3 sharps and 3 flats (double bass)

Colleen MacDonald, conductor
Rehearsals: Fridays, 4:00-5:30 PM

Philharmonia is for advanced string players that will perform advanced string orchestra repertoire. Candidates should possess highly developed technique, familiarity with the first five positions, mature sound, and proficient sight-reading abilities.

Audition requirements: 2 minute excerpt from 2 contrasting selections, selected 3 octave major scales through 4 sharps and 4 flats

  • Violin: E Major and Ab Major, 3 octaves
  • Viola E Major & F Major, 3 octaves
  • Cello: Bb Major & E Major, 3 octaves
  • Bass:  F Major & G Major, at least 2 octaves

Christopher Memoli, conductor
Rehearsals: Fridays, 4:00-6:00 PM

This is the only orchestra for both string and wind players. RYS provides orchestra training for advanced student musicians. Candidates must demonstrate the ability to rehearse and perform advanced orchestral repertoire and excellent sight-reading skills.

Audition Requirements:
Strings: 2 minute excerpt from 2 contrasting selections, selected 3 octave major scales
Winds and Brass: 2 minute excerpt from 2 contrasting selections, full range of chromatic scale and selected major scales

Scale details:
Strings:  2 contrasting selections plus the following scales:

  • Violin:  B Major & E flat Major 3 octaves
  • Viola:  E major and A flat major 3 octaves
  • Cello:  E major and A flat major 3 octaves
  • Bass:  A Major and & B flat Major 2 octave

Winds and Brass: Please submit two scales of the student’s choosing as well as a chromatic scale demonstrating the student’s full range. All Woodwind students must submit scales in 2 octaves and clarinet students should submit at least 1 of the 2 scales in 3 octaves.

2021-2022 Concerts

Sunday, October 31, 2021, 1 pm at Regis College
Saturday, December 4, 2021, Holiday Pops (Youth Symphony only)
Friday, December 10, 2021, Rivera Recital Hall (Primo only)
Sunday, February 13, 2022, 1 pm at Regis College
Sunday, May 15, 2022, more info TBD


Questions? Please contact:

Katherine Greene, Youth Orchestra Manager
orchestramanager@rivers.org