Rappahannock Youth Symphony

 Membership Policies

Arrival and Attendance Policy

1.   Being on time to rehearsals is essential.  All students must arrive 15 minutes before rehearsal time to have adequate time to set up stands, chairs, music, instruments and begin tuning.

2.   Upon arrival each member will need to check-in.  If a member arrives after required arrival time, the member will be marked late.  After checking in, all members must go directly to their assigned room and remain there while they prepare for rehearsal.  Members should set up their stand and chair and practice in their seat until tuning begins.

3.   Rehearsal Dismissal Policy: Rehearsal will end promptly at 8:30 p.m.  It is required that all students be picked up NO LATER THAN 8:45 p.m.

4.   Attendance: Musicians are expected to be present at and ON TIME for all rehearsals and concerts and to remain for the entire duration.  Attendance is always taken.

5.   Absences:  Absences are strongly discouraged.  Members may not have more than TWO absences for the entire year.  Any reason for an absence must be communicated to the Executive Director as soon as possible.  Attendance at the last rehearsal before the concert is mandatory.  Students who with excessive absences may be required to re-audition for the conductor.

6.   Absence Form: The Absence Form is available on the website.  Please fill it out at least one week before the absence.

7.   Consequences of absences:  After 2 absences, the Executive Director and the Conductor may choose to re-evaluate the performer’s participation in Rappahannock Youth Symphony.  There will be no refunds of tuition.

     8.   Musicians are expected to attend rehearsal even if their instrument is being repaired or if they 
           have a minor personal injury so they can continue to add to their musical understanding of the 

Auditions - Leave of AbsenceStudents who take a leave of absence of a year or more are required to re-audition for the RYS.  Prior participation in the RYS does not guarantee re-admittance.
Auditions - Move Up

Move-up auditions for returning students take place in September or June.  Move-up auditions will NOT take place during the season under any circumstances.  Judging is based on tone, rhythm, intonation, expression, posture and sight-reading. 

Auditions - New Members

New member auditions may take place throughout the season depending on the ensemble's needs.

Auditions - Seating

Seating auditions are held at the discretion of the conductor for all levels.  They may occur without any notice and at any time during the season.  Decisions made by conductors are final.  Students who are absent on the day of seating auditions (even for legitimate reasons) will be placed at the discretion of the conductor.

Seating decisions will be based on seating auditions, adherence to RYS policies (especially attendance and behavior) and leadership abilities.

Conductors reserve the right to audition any student at any point during the season as necessary to ensure students are meeting the ensemble's standards.  If the student is consistently unprepared, disciplinary action may occur.

Auditions - Switching Instruments

Students may switch instruments during the concert season if approved by their conductor.  If approved, the student must re-audition on the new instrument.

Cell Phones and Other Electronics

The use of cell phone and other electronic devices (iPods, etc.) are prohibited during rehearsals and concerts.  Any cell phone in the rehearsal or concert space should be silenced or turned off. 

Code of Conduct
All students are expected to comply with the Spotsylvania County Student Code of conduct, which can be found online at http://www.spotsylvania.k12.va.us/.  If inappropriate behavior is exhibited, the Board President or Executive Director will contact the student’s parents or guardian to discuss the matter and recommend a course of action. Administrative staff reserves the right to dismiss any student from the RYS.  Dismissal due to disciplinary action will result in forfeiture of tuition.  The use of cellphones and other electronic devices (iPods, etc.) are prohibited during rehearsals and concerts. 

                1st offense – Verbal warning from Conductor and Executive Director
                2nd offense – Dismissal from upcoming concert
                3rd offense – Dismissal from RYS 

Reasons for Dismissal

1.       Not meeting the musical demands of the orchestra by showing up to rehearsals     

2.       Excessive absences or tardies

3.       Participating in any rude, disruptive or illegal activity during any RYS related rehearsals, 
    concerts or events

4.       Intentionally attempting to steal any RYS property or property in any space used by the 

5.       Causing or attempting to cause physical or emotional injury to any person involved 
    with RYS, including employees of any space used by the RYS

6.       Possessing, handling or transmitting any illegal substances or weapons during RYS 

           7.       Violating any local, state or federal laws  


1.  Weekly Emails – The Executive Director will send out weekly emails to communicate any updates or changes made to the schedule.  These emails may include practice and performance notes from conductors.

2.   Monthly Newsletters- The newsletter will be emailed to you and posted on the website.

3.   Email- Email is the primary means of communication to the membership. 

4.   Website- Log on to www.rysymphony.org for all information.

     5.   Facebook – The Executive Director also posts important information on the RYS Facebook
          page, including any cancellation or rehearsals, as well as rehearsal and concert reminders. 

       6.   Folders - Students need to check their folders at rehearsals for important information.

Concert Attire

1.  Primo Orchestra

Boys: White long sleeved collared dress shirt, Black neck tie (not a bow tie), Black dress pants, black dress shoes, black socks

Girls: White blouse (at least ¾ length sleeves), Long black dress pants or long black skirt (below the knees when sitting), Black or nude hosiery/socks, Black closed toe shoes (low or flat heel)                              

2.  Repertory Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra, Brass Ensemble

Boys:  White long sleeved tuxedo shirt with Tuxedo jacket, Black Bow Tie, Black dress shoes, black socks  **Check with your school band/orchestra instructor to see if you may use your school tux for RYS events.**

Girls:   All black long dress (with at least ¾ length sleeves) or separates with neutral or black

Please note:  Hair, headwear, and jewelry should not be a distraction.  No tight pants, sleeveless tops, sandals, flip-flops, tennis shoes, black jeans, spandex or leather.  Failure to comply may result in not being able to play at the concert.  


RYS holds at least three major events during the year.  Refer to emails, website and newsletters for updated performance locations and times.  The RYS may periodically schedule additional performances.

1.       December – Winter Concert

2.       March - Teacher Appreciation Concert 

3.       End of April – Symphony and Tea Concert  


1.  The non-refundable fee(s) for participating in the RYS are (updated May 26, 2014):

$330 per member, full season

$200 per sibling of first member, full season

$200 per member, HALF season only (no sibling discounts for half season members)

2.  The membership fee includes a t-shirt.

3.   Membership must be paid in full on or before the first rehearsal, unless arrangements are made otherwise.

4.   All memberships must be current in order for the member to participate in upcoming events.

5.   Tuition will not be prorated in the event that a student enters the season after the first rehearsal.  Each member is required to pay the full tuition amount.

     6.   Please make checks payable to the Rappahannock Youth Symphony.  Tuition may also be
           paid via credit card through PayPal located on our website.

Payment plans are available.  The membership fee is expected to be paid in full by January 15 for the 1st child and February 2nd for each additional child or will be subject to a 10% processing fee.

Tuition helps to defray the many operating costs the RYS incurs: rental of performance venues, music, professional services, concert program costs, advertising/marketing and other general organizational expenses.  The RYS strives to be good stewards of finances while providing an enriching educational opportunity for members.

Financial Aid

Full or partial tuition assistance is available for families in need.  Students who received need based financial aid will receive 2 tickets to each concert.  Members who are eligible for financial aid are required to participate in RYS for the entire season.  Failure to do so may result in having to pay back the money according to the following schedule:

Drop out on or before 10/20/14 – pay ¼ of tuition
Drop out on or before 12/7/14 – pay ½ of tuition
Drop out on or before 3/2/15 – pay ¾ of tuition
Drop out on or before 5/3/15 – pay all of tuition

Families who receive financial aid are expected to contribute as volunteers in any way they can.

Food and Drink

No food, drink, candy or gum is allowed in the rehearsal rooms and or concert venues.  Bottled water with a lid is acceptable.  Food and drink may only be consumed in the cafeteria. 

Inclement Weather

Cancellations will be posted on the website homepage, Facebook and will be emailed.   Please note that if Spotsylvania Schools are cancelled there will not be a rehearsal.  Every family should make a personal decision based on their local area’s road conditions.  These absences will be excused and not be counted against the allotted absences.  

RYS reserves the right to hold rehearsal in an alternate location weather permitting.    

Instrument Insurance

RYS is not liable for loss or damage to instruments when musicians have them at rehearsals, concerts or in transit.  Families are encouraged to add valuable instruments to their personal property insurance.  Accidents do happen.  Musicians are expected to take care of their own instruments and respect other’s property. 

 Parent Volunteers

Each family is required to volunteer for a minimum of 5 hours to assist the RYS in a variety of activities, committees, events, promotions and fundraising.  In lieu of volunteering, families may make an additional $100 payment at the beginning of the year or donate $100 worth of snacks and refreshments.  Paying this fee at the beginning of the concert season will relieve you from any type of volunteer activity.  If a family does not fulfill their volunteer requirement by MAY 31 they will be invoiced for $100. 

The RYS will reimburse select expenses made by parents on behalf of the RYS so long as they are reasonable and pre-approved by the Executive Director.  Parents who incur authorized expenses must receive, retain and produce evidence of such expenditures within 30 days of the purchase.

All volunteer hours must be logged using the Volunteer Log located on the Members Only section of the website.  This is the only way to receive credit for the hours you have volunteered.  


Participation in the RYS is based upon a successful audition.  Students are then recommended for a level appropriate ensemble.  Students of RYS are strongly encouraged to participate in their school instrumental programs.  Those who participate in their school music program must have their school teacher sign the School Participation Form, which will be emailed by RYS to your child's school teacher.  Students who take private lessons also need to have their private teacher complete the form. 


Photos will be taken of RYS members, which may, at RYS’s discretion, be used for publicity in print media and on the internet.  Names of students will only be used after obtaining written permission.  No flash photography during performances.       


RYS concerts may be professionally recorded.  CDs will be available for purchase.  


Members are required to submit a registration form each year by the date requested.  The registration form is to be completed online.

 Rehearsal Times/Locations

All rehearsals are held at:    

                T. Benton Gayle Middle School

                100 Panther Drive

                Fredericksburg, VA, 22406

Please use the main entrance of the building.   All ensembles rehearse from 6:30pm-8:30pm on Mondays.  Students need to arrive no later than 6:15pm.  Family members may remain in the cafeteria during rehearsal or leave and come back.

Scholarships and Awards

RYS annually offers two-$500 College Scholarships to graduating seniors and one year’s tuition to a qualified member.  Recipients are chosen based on musicianship, attendance, dedication to the RYS and the required essay.  There may also be a performance aspect.  Details will be available in April, and the essay will be due in May.  The winners will be announced at the Spring Concert.  Students who receive tuition scholarships are required to participate for the entire season.  Failure to do so may result in having to pay back the money according to the following schedule:              

     Drop out on or before 10/20/14 – pay ¼ of tuition

                Drop out on or before 12/7/14 – pay ½ of tuition

                Drop out on or before 3/2/15 – pay ¾ of tuition

                Drop out on or before 5/3/15 – pay all of tuition  

Section Leaders

Sections leaders hold a position of responsibility representing both the RYS and their peers.  Proficiency, professionalism and dedication are essential to these positions. 

Duties of a Section Leader

  • Arrives 15 minutes early to rehearsal to help set up and stays after rehearsal to ensure the room is properly cleaned up
  • Sets the best possible example of respectful behavior and attitude toward those in authority
  • Models mature behavior during rehearsals, breaks and other events
  • Learns first and last name of all section members
  • Demonstrates mastery of the music and is able to help others
  • Creates fun ideas for the section, which will help the team to bond (ex. t-shirts, treat bags, cards, etc.)
  • Ensures section’s bowings match other sections in the orchestra (for string players)
  • Communicates bowings and fingerings to the rest of the section (for string players)


All attendees must purchase a ticket for the concerts; there is no exception for family members.  

October and March Concerts - Free

Winter and Spring Concerts Ticket Prices: $12 – Adults/$10 – Students (under 18) and Seniors (55 and over)

Symphony and Tea Ticket Price - $30 – admission with tea service; $15 - general admission **price subject to change**

RYS performers do not need a ticket to attend events.  Each student is strongly encouraged to sell at least two tickets per event. 

Tickets - Music Teachers

All area music teachers who have students participating in the RYS will receive one complementary ticket to all RYS events.