'Frequently Asked Questions

About Auditions:​

Q. When and where will the auditions be held? Violin, Cello and Bass auditions will be available on Monday, May 8 and Tuesday, May 9, 2017. All other auditions will be held Monday, May 8. All auditions will be at East High School, between 4 pm and 7 pm. They are on a first come, first served basis.

2017-18 Alaska Youth Orchestras Audition Signup available:

April 1, 2017 through May 7, 2017.

Q. Are video auditions available? Yes. When AYO Audition Signups become available on our website, April 1, 2017 through May 7, 2017, you will see, Pre-Recorded Auditions. 

On your audition recording, please perform a solo that shows your technique and tone to good advantage. You can preform two short contrasting solos if you wish. Examples of solos include etudes, sonatas, and concertos. Please play scales up to four sharps and four flats, showing a variety of bowing/articulations. Your sheet music will tell you how many octaves you should preform. Please perform the SHEET MUSIC from the AYO website. If you are accepted to AYO you will need to sight read. Arrangements will be made for you to do this at the first rehearsal of the season. Submit pre-recorded auditions to youthsymphony@gmail.com or mail thumb drive to:

Alaska Youth Orchestras

P.O. Box 240541

Anchorage, AK.


Q. How early should I arrive to my audition? Plan to arrive 15 to 30 minutes before the time of your audition to warm up.

Q. What do I play at the audition? You should prepare a solo that shows your technique and tone to good advantage. You can prepare two short contrasting solos if you wish. Examples of solos include etudes, sonatas, and concertos. In addition, you will be required to play scales up to four sharps and four flats, showing a variety of bowing/articulations. See each instrument sheet for how many octaves you should prepare. You will also play some orchestral excerpts that are distributed by AYO. You will be asked to sight read. And finally, you will need to perform the SHEET MUSIC for your instrument. For a copy of your SHEET MUSIC, go to drop down under 'Schedule AYO Audition'. Click on your instrument. Print. SHEET MUSIC is also available on the signup registration form during April 1, 2017 through May 7, 2017.

Q. What paperwork do I bring to the audition? It would be nice to have an extra copy of your selected music for the coaches, but it is not necessary. MUST BRING your SHEET MUSIC.

Q. Will I be able to warm up at East? Yes, although it may be noisy! Most auditions run on time, but give yourself some leeway if the auditions run long. Show up early enough to warm up properly.

Q. I get nervous at auditions. What can I do? Everyone gets nervous at auditions. All of the coaches are aware of this and they will try to put you at ease so that they can hear your best. The best thing you can do is come absolutely prepared. This will increase your confidence level and will help your nerves.

Q. Who will hear me at my audition? One or two AYS coaches will hear you audition and possibly the AYO Music Director.

Q. When and how are we notified of audition results? We will notify you via email within two weeks after your audition.

Q. How do I prepare for the audition? Practice! Listen to recordings of your audition music excerpts so you can to get a sense of the style and speed. 

Q. How do I schedule an audition? A signup will be available on our website April 1, 2017 through May 7, 2017. Please check back during this time frame.

​Q. Is it possible to request a late audition? If the auditions are closed, then you will not be able to further audition (see exceptions below).  Unfortunately we have to have a deadline so that we can make a decision – we hope that you understand this.  
Even so, you can contact us to see if there is a (rare) chance that we have any openings in sections.  If there is, then we will most likely be able to hear you.  In addition, if our coaches are available to hear you, we could hear you to be put on our ‘alternate’ list.  This list is in case a player leaves the orchestra, or is unable to play for all or part of the season due to illness or injury.  
Contact us, and we will let you know on a case by case basis.


Q. Can you notify me of AYO Auditions? Yes! Please use the Notification Form. We will send you an email notification when AYO Audition Signups are available. Let us know if you would be interested in filling an open position during the current season. 

Q. I'm regularly involved in after school activities (sports, etc.) that will conflict with the rehearsals. Will I be able to miss rehearsals? Please see AYO ATTENDANCE POLICY

Q.Why are all parents required to bring rehearsal snack once per season? The rehearsal snack provides a much-needed break for the students during weekly rehearsals. It also allows interaction between all members, and prevents the lack of focus that results from low blood sugars or hungry kids. In the past, we have tried doing away with the snack/break time and the music director noticed a decline in focus and effort in the latter half of our rehearsal. Since we have rehearsals through what is normally considered the dinner hour, we feel everyone is better off having a short break and snack. 

Q. What is the concert schedule? Each season, AYO has three concerts at The Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, (ACPA or PAC). Other events are planned throughout the year. Our schedule is published on the website. Please see CONCERTS and the AYO GOOGLE CALENDAR

Q. What is Alaska Youth Orchestras non-profit status? We are a registered 501(c)(3).

Q. What fees are required to belong to the Youth Orchestras?The audition fee is $21.50 to defray the cost of running the auditions. If you are accepted into one of the orchestras, tuition is $750 + volunteering or $1,200 if you choose not to volunteer.  

Q. Why has tuition gone up?  One of AYO's goals and values is to keep the tuition as low as possible for our students. Last year, tuition covered about half of the cost of sending students through the program. The total cost for a student to participate in AYO is roughly $1,200 which includes an opportunity to perform under an accomplished music director, many hours of specialized coaching, opportunities to perform in small ensembles, and three performances at Anchorage's world-class Center for the Performing Arts. We strive to constantly increase and improve the opportunities available to our students, the visibility of our orchestras within our community, and the excellence of our orchestral groups. For the past several years we depended on eScrip as a great fundraising source which is no longer available. The parents on the AYO board do not believe AYO is sustainable in the current economy with shrinking corporate contributions and an increasingly burdened nonprofit field. In order to keep our program vibrant and stable, we must contribute more because we benefit most directly. Grants, individual or corporate contributions, sponsorships and other fundraising efforts are still extremely important to AYO. To secure these grants and contributions, we depend on dedicated board members and parent volunteers who spend a great deal of effort ensuring AYO remains financially solvent. If you are interested in knowing more about the AYO budget or helping with fundraising in any way, please contact AYO Treasurer, Kim Morris, at ayotreasurer@gmail.com. 

Q. Is Financial Aid available for AYO Tuition? Yes, limited funds are available. Deadline to apply for Financial Aid, July 4, 2017. FINANCIAL AID APPLICATION FORM 

If you're awarded Financial Aid, you will be expected to volunteer.

$1,200 or $750 + volunteering?  The cost for one student to go through a season with AYO is approximately $1,200. Our goal is to minimize the cost of tuition for all families to the fullest extent possible. If parents choose to pay the full cost of $1,200, they will not be asked to volunteer. The other option is a reduced tuition payment of $750 and provide help in the way of volunteering. 

Why so much emphasis on volunteering? Tuition covers a portion of operating expenses. The rest is covered through fundraising efforts, sponsors, ad sales, grants, and donations. In addition, organizing three major concerts every year takes a lot of effort and volunteers. We pay a part-time Executive Director who puts in many, many extra hours to make our organization run smoothly. Every aspect of running the organization requires volunteers including: fundraising and seeking corporate sponsors, writing grants, helping with the AYO Annual Auction, backstage help at rehearsals and concerts, board members, managing finances, taking photos, coordinating after concert refreshments and AYO Chamber Music events, etc. We are always striving to make AYO a rich and meaningful experience for our youth and can only achieve this with the help of volunteers!  


Q. What is the Dress Code Requirements for concerts? Please see CONCERT DRESS CODE REQUIREMENTS.

Q. Does AYO offer chamber groups? Yes. Alaska Youth Orchestras Chamber Music provides a range of opportunities to study, perform, and rehearse in a context that balances structure with flexibility, guidance and independence, discipline with inspiration. AYO’s Chamber Music Program is an excellent opportunity for players to enhance their musical abilities, improve their performance confidence, and develop interpersonal skills within small group settings.  

We encourage all AYO families to show their support to this program by attending AYO Chamber Music events and by volunteering time to this program. 

The Alaska Youth Orchestras Chamber Music Program is FREE. We do require a commitment from the musicians for the season.

Q. Can I join the Board of Directors? Yes! The AYO Board would like to see a brief resume which includes: Any past board experience. What special skill-set you have to offer. How much time can you commit. And overall, written justification on why you would like to serve. Please email resumé to youthsymphony@gmail.com.

Can my student join the Board of Directors as a Performing Member? Yes! Please see


Q. Can students or parents suggest repertoire? Yes, our conductors are always open to suggestions for repertoire. However, they is usually planning the next season far in advance and may not be able to make last-minute changes. Also, a lot of careful planning and deliberation goes into AYO programming. Mr. Weeda has been the AYO music director for over 25 years and has a tremendous amount of experience choosing repertoire that is both challenging and manageable for our performers. If you have any questions regarding the AYO repertoire, you can talk to either conductor during the break at Monday rehearsals or email us at youthsymphony@gmail.com.

Q. Does AYO go on trips/tours? Yes! AYO has a rich tradition of touring, including both in-state and international travel. Past trips/tours have included destinations such as Australia, China, and Europe. Trips/touring is always a possibility but requires parents who are interested in organizing tours and undertaking the ambitious fundraising efforts involved. Tours happen because of parents who are willing to organize and fundraise. If you are interested in helping organize a trip/tour, please email us at youthsymphony@gmail.com.

​Frequently Asked

Questions About 
Alaska Youth Orchestras 

in General:

Frequently Asked Questons

Q. When and where are rehearsals for Alaska Youth Orchestras (AYO)? AYO rehearsals begin Monday August 28, 2017, 4:15-7:00, East High School. 3 rehearsals, 9.5.2017, 1.16.18 and 2.19.18  will be held on Tuesdays due to holidays. No AYO Rehearsals will be held during Winter & Spring Breaks. Please see AYO GOOGLE CALENDAR