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Cheshire Symphony Orchestra (CSO) Member Guidelines


The Cheshire Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is a non-profit, multi-generational community orchestra, whose members range from the amateur to the professional, dedicated to playing and performing authentic orchestral literature.  The CSO provides a stimulating and enjoyable experience for musicians to rehearse, learn, and perform orchestral literature in a nurturing and supportive environment while providing the opportunity for the community to hear and appreciate classical music.


How to Join

String players are encouraged to examine the orchestra’s repertoire to determine whether participation in the orchestra will be a positive, musical experience for them.  Bowings, tempi, and possible solutions to more difficult passages will be provided by section leaders and the conductor.


Woodwind, brass, and percussion players, please contact the conductor for openings in the orchestra.  These openings will also be advertised on the CSO website and Facebook page.


Interested musicians are invited and encouraged to sit in on a rehearsal or two to determine if the CSO is a perfect fit for them.


Musician Responsibilities

Rehearsal Schedule

Rehearsals are from 7:15 to 9:15 pm on Monday evenings at St. Peter’s Church, 59 Main Street, Cheshire.  The side door, facing the parking lot, at the front of the church will be open by 6:45 pm.  Musicians should be in their seats, ready for tuning by 7:15 pm.  Rehearsal schedules will be provided and closely adhered to.


Rehearsal Cancellation Policy

All rehearsal schedule changes will be announced at least one week in advance except in cases of inclement weather or other emergencies.  In those cases, cancellations will be announced by 3:00 pm on the day of concert or rehearsal.  Members will be notified by group email, and the emergency cancellation will also be announced on the CSO website and Facebook page.


Absenteeism Policy

CSO musicians are expected to attend all rehearsals.  If you are unable to attend a rehearsal, notify your stand partner, section leader, and conductor of the anticipated absence as early as possible.


Rehearsal Preparedness

Bring instruments, music stands, music, and stand lights to each rehearsal and performance.


Be prepared for each rehearsal.  Listen to recordings of programmed pieces.  Practice regularly and seek to improve at each rehearsal over the previous ones.


“The purpose of a rehearsal is to learn everyone else’s part…never your own!  Your own preparation is your welcoming gift to your colleagues.”


Concert Details

Concert dates will be provided in advance.  It is assumed that all those who participate in rehearsals will perform at the concerts.


To assure readiness of the orchestra for a performance, musician attendance is mandatory for the last two rehearsals before each concert.  Exceptions can be made with the conductor’s permission.


Concert dress is black tie, white shirt, black jacket/tux, black pants, black socks and black shoes for men; black blouse and black slacks/skirt or black dress with black hosiery and black shoes for women.


Pre-concert rehearsal begins at 6:00 pm on the day of the concert; church doors open by 5:30.  Musicians should be in their seats ready for tuning at 6:00 pm.  Concerts begin promptly at 7:30 pm, and musicians should be seated and ready for concert tuning by 7:25 pm.


Performances are the culmination of our musical learning and collaboration, and the gift we bring our audiences and each other.  Bring a joyful spirit to the concert as you share your music with others!


CSO Music

Musicians are responsible for careful handling of all music distributed to the orchestra.  Protect music from unnecessary exposure to food, drinks, pets, or the weather.  All markings on the music must be in pencil.


Return all music to the librarian after each concert. This will assure that the CSO music library will continue to grow and that we can return to some of our favorite pieces in future concerts.


If rental music is distributed, all musicians are financially responsible for lost music or music returned late if the orchestra incurs a late fee from the rental agency.


If page turns are difficult, copy your music and arrange it for ease of movement and stability during rehearsals and the concert.


Ways to Support the CSO

There are many ways CSO musicians can support the orchestra. The following are a few ways you can help to make rehearsals and concerts a success and an enjoyable experience for everyone:

  • Bring in the concert audience! Invite as many friends and family as you can and assist with advertising in the community and surrounding towns, so we can have a full house at each concert.

  • Recruit new members into the orchestra.  Ask the conductor which sections need more players and seek opportunities to promote the CSO to other musicians and encourage them to join.

  • If you have graphic design skills, volunteer to work on the concert programs and promotional fliers.  If you have website or Facebook skills, volunteer to maintain or improve CSO’s website or Facebook page.

  • Support the concerts by distributing flyers and posters or share the  CSO website and Facebook page through your favorite social media.

  • Help to set up and dismantle the space for each rehearsal and concert.  Assistance with setting up percussion instruments and other special arrangements for the concert is also sometimes needed.

  • Assist with set-up and clean-up for the post-concert reception.  Also, bring in a contribution of food or drink for the post-concert reception.


Musicianship Dues and Other Ways to Help Cover CSO Expenses

Maintaining and building a community orchestra incurs some costs.  The CSO fiscal year runs from January to December.  Annual costs include music purchase/rental, rehearsal and performance venue(s), the conductor, promotions, and other expenses.


To assist with covering the annual costs of sustaining the orchestra, we ask each CSO musician to pay $100 in membership dues each year, preferably in September at the start of the new program season.  Your donation is tax deductible. Without membership dues/donations, sustaining the orchestra would be very difficult.  If you are unable to pay this amount, any amount is greatly appreciated.


Other ways to help cover orchestra expenses include finding community and business sponsors to contribute financial support to CSO directly. We are happy to accept any amount.  You can also encourage businesses to purchase advertising space in the concert programs. Ads included in our program will carry for one year.  The cost for a whole page ad is $200.00, a ½-page ad is $100.00, and a ¼-page ad is $50.00. Advertisers can word the ad as they wish or simply enclose a business card.  For $25.00 or more, community members or businesses can place a "shout-out" to an individual, section of the orchestra, or other message.  Local businesses and community organizations can also provide free promotions of our concerts.


The CSO Board works very hard behind the scenes to develop the concert programs with the conductor’s guidance, create promotional and program materials, reach out to community sponsors, and seek other ways to support and promote the CSO.  If you have any suggestions or would like to contribute your graphic design, website maintenance, writing, communications, or fundraising skills, please seek out a Board member to ask about how you can help.  Members are also encouraged to contribute to discussions about future purchases that will support the growing orchestra.  Consider becoming involved in the orchestra’s financial, fundraising, concerto/aria, and/or general board committees.  But especially, bring your love of music and willingness to share it with your musical colleagues and audiences to make CSO a strong and vibrant contributor to the community arts.

I© 2017-2023 Cheshire Symphony Orchestra

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