The Pomona College Orchestra is an auditioned group. Although the conductor recognizes that most people in the orchestra will not be majoring in music, and some may not even be taking private lessons, it is nonetheless essential that everyone is able to meet the challenges of the orchestra’s repertoire.
Returning members are not required to re-audition. However, re-audition is recommended for those who are unhappy with their seatings or assignments, in case the conductor has misjudged their musical strengths.
Auditions for new members are held at the beginning of each academic year, during the first weekend after classes start. (The orchestra does not meet during the first week of the Fall semester.) For the 2013-14 academic year, the audition dates are September 7 and 8. The orchestra's first rehearsal will be on Tuesday, September 10, from 6:30 to 8:30.
Auditions may also be arranged during other times of the year. However, repertoire decisions and assignments are made in advance, so it will not always be possible to accommodate new members once rehearsals have begun.
Those interested in auditioning for the orchestra should use the signup sheets posted in Thatcher, on the large bulletin board on the north wall (to the left of the department office).
Auditions consist of the following:
Returning members should be in touch with the conductor before auditions for the new season begin in case their spot within the orchestra may be challenged.
Like many professional orchestras, the PCO uses a rotating seating. The string principals will usually be consistent, but the orchestra does not have "ranked" chairs. Someone sitting 4th is not considered inferior to someone sitting 3rd; for that matter, someone sitting 8th is not considered inferior to someone sitting 2nd. Seating assignments will vary from one program to the other, including some shifting between the first and second violin sections. The conductor attempts to balance the string sections and give the orchestra's musicians the experience of sitting in different places. Similarly, different people will play principal wind parts in different pieces.
The orchestra does not limit the number of qualified string players on its roster, although it has sometimes been necessary in the past to reduce the viola and cello sections for certain pieces. For wind players, the number of spots will generally be limited as follows:
If in doubt, try out! Musicians who cannot be offered a spot in the orchestra as first-semester freshmen are encouraged to audition again in later semesters.