Thank you for your partnership in furthering the mission of the Union Symphony Youth Orchestra. We look forward to a great season together!

The information in this handbook pertains to all aspects of membership and participation in USYO and Prelude. Please take a moment to become familiar with its contents.

The Union Symphony Youth Orchestra is an educational component to the Union Symphony Orchestra and is the only auditioned orchestral performance ensemble for student musicians in Union County. Members come from Union County and its surrounding counties. Members rehearse and perform quality orchestral literature throughout the season. The first requirement of membership is dedication to the orchestra and commitment to its quality musical performances.


The Union Symphony Youth Orchestra is a division of the Union Symphony Society, Inc., the sponsoring body of the Union Symphony Orchestra. Its mission is to provide students with a quality ensemble for the rehearsal and performance of orchestral music.

“In the quest for excellence, two things cannot be hidden: hard work, and the lack of it. What lies behind and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.”
–Oliver Wendell Holmes

Concert Season

Summer Music Camp, dress rehearsals, and all concerts are mandatory.

Concert locations are subject to change. Please check the website for updates on concert locations.

Code of Conduct:

The USYO promotes an environment of self-control, compassion and respect for others. Disruptive behavior is unproductive and contrary to such an environment and will be addressed accordingly.

The following guidelines are required to be read and agreed to by both the orchestra member and the parent(s). If an orchestra member does not abide by the following rules of conduct, he or she may be dismissed from the orchestra.


Members are expected to follow the USYO attendance rules described in the Union Symphony Youth Programs Handbook. Every member is essential to the ensemble and its potential to progress and perform as a cohesive musical team. Therefore, every member is expected to make rehearsals a priority with consistent attendance, except in extraordinary circumstances. Members are to arrive at least 30 minutes prior (check-in will begin at 45 minutes prior) to rehearsal start, return from breaks promptly, stay for the full rehearsal, and report all planned absences to the Orchestra Manager in advance. All members are marked tardy if arriving after 15 minutes prior to rehearsal start.

Professional Behavior:

  • Bring all issued sheet music to each rehearsal (both orchestra and chamber parts), even when sharing a stand with a partner.
  • Have a sharpened pencil during each rehearsal and mark one’s own copies of the music with all conductor notes.
  • Refrain from chewing gum or eating during rehearsal.
  • Turn off all electronic devices during rehearsal. Devices that are out or in use during rehearsal will be collected by a rehearsal assistant and only returned to a parent.
  • Remain attentive and come ready to learn, progress and make great music.

Respect and Courtesy to Others and Property:

  • USYO does not tolerate teasing, fighting, or engaging in aggressive or provocative behavior.
  • Speak to and listen respectfully to peers and adults.
  • Use appropriate language at all times; as a member, you are a representative of USYO. Inappropriate comments or sounds during concerts or rehearsals are cause for dismissal.
  • Respect all property, including fellow members’ instruments. Do not touch or play with others’ instruments, percussion instruments, or accessories.
  • Clean up after yourself; throw away snack trash, pick up all dropped food, and throw away drink containers. No food or drink is allowed in rehearsal areas.
  • Vandalism is grounds for immediate dismissal.


  • At all times, remain within the specified rehearsal and break areas. Members must always be visible to music faculty or parent volunteers.
  • No playing in or on elevators, stairs, or bathrooms, and no running in the building or other similar disruptive behavior.
  • Parents will pick up members immediately after rehearsals and performances.

Resolution of Code of Conduct Issues:

  • Inappropriate behavior is brought to the attention of the orchestra member.
  • When appropriate, resolution is encouraged between orchestra members and facilitated by an adult in charge.
  • If necessary, inappropriate behavior will be brought to the attention of the orchestra members’ parents.
  • If there is continued problematic behavior, the orchestra member will be asked to leave the orchestra.



When joining the program, we ask that students make a commitment to the program and its rehearsal schedule, avoiding scheduling other activities during the scheduled orchestra rehearsals and performances. Attending rehearsals strengthens the group as an ensemble and enhances the student’s overall musical experience. The ensemble’s success is heavily dependent on regular attendance from everyone. When you miss a rehearsal, not only are you missing out on important musical details that you can not obtain by individual practice, but you are also creating a void in the ensemble that can not be filled in any way. In keeping with the purpose of the USYO to provide a quality musical experience, it is the belief of the staff that all students should uphold their commitment to their colleagues, their conductor, themselves, and ultimately to the music itself. Therefore, as a member of USYO, it is the responsibility of each and every member to:

  • Attend all rehearsals and performances
  • Be seated and warming up at least 10 minutes prior to the start of rehearsal
  • Have practiced and prepared the music between each rehearsal
  • Turn in absence forms in a timely manner

It does not matter if you are absent from USYO because you are sick, have an academic competition, are on a school trip, or on vacation. If you are not there, your absence creates a void. With this kind of needed dedication and mindset in place, we also understand that other important events/commitments on Sunday afternoons are going to occur on occasion. Therefore, we expect each member to use their judgment wisely and to honor their commitment to the USYO when making important decisions about other activities.

With that in mind, the following guidelines will be enforced:

  • There are no excused or unexcused absences. An absence is an absence.
  • Every USYO member is allowed a maximum of three (3) absences per season.
  • Three (3) tardies count as one (1) absence. Members are tardy if arriving after 15 minutes prior to rehearsal start.
  • Upon the fourth (4) absence, the USYO member will be placed on probation and their membership will be reviewed for seating reassignment or loss of membership without a refund, depending on circumstances.
  • Absences may not be used for consecutive rehearsals, dress rehearsals, or concerts.
  • Consecutive absences and absences from dress rehearsals or concerts will be placed under review and may result in seating reassignment or loss of membership depending on circumstances.
  • The dress rehearsal for any concert is 100% mandatory for all members. There will be no exceptions for this rule.
  • Absence forms must be filled out at least one week in advance. In case of illness or an emergency, contact USYO Manager by 10:00 AM on the day of the rehearsal.

It is our hope that each of our members can participate in all of the concerts. If for some reason, however, you know that you will not be able to adhere to Policy bullets #5 or #6 for a particular concert, let the USYO Manager know as early as possible, so that arrangements can be made to cover missing parts, if necessary. In this case, the USYO member will be required to reimburse the USYO for the musician that is hired to replace them.

Concert Dress Code:


  • Corelli dress by Southeastern Performance Apparel
    800-821-8270 8 AM – 5 PM Central Time
  • Dresses take 7 business days to arrive. Order in time to make any needed alterations.
  • Dresses will be needed for group photo in October.


  • Black jacket and black dress slacks with white dress shirt
  • Black shoes and socks
  • USYO-issued tie and cummerbund or students may wear choose to wear their own

Items that should not be worn

  • Jewelry or hair accessories that stand out
  • Non-black socks or hosiery
  • Decorative embellishments or clothing with low necklines


There are three ways members can fulfill fundraising needs:

  • Tax deductible donation to USYO
  • Donation with employer matching gift
  • Sponsorship gifts from friends/family.

Questions regarding fundraising may be directed to the USO office or Elizabeth Skinner, USYO Manager.



The USYO and Prelude ensembles rehearse on Sundays from 2:30 PM to 5:00 PM at Weddington High School. USYO and Prelude members are expected to arrive 10 minutes prior to the start of rehearsal.  USYO and Prelude members are responsible for signing in at the front desk when they arrive in order to be counted present and on time. Musicians who sign in after 5 minutes before the start of rehearsal are considered tardy. Please refer to the Attendance policy regarding late arrivals.

The rehearsal begins when the concertmaster stands and signals the principal oboe to sound the tuning note. During tuning, members are to focus on accurately tuning; there should be no practicing or talking. During rehearsal, each musician is expected to watch and listen to the conductor carefully, following all directions and making the necessary changes throughout the rehearsal. Talking during rehearsals should be limited to questions for the conductor related to the rehearsal.

All students must have a sharpened pencil at all rehearsals, and all markings should be made clearly. Musicians are expected to download and print their own copies of the music*. Music is to be placed in a black 1 inch binder and brought to each rehearsal. Do not place music in sheet protectors as this makes it difficult to mark your music. Musicians are to bring their own stand to each rehearsal. Stands may not be removed from the Band Room for rehearsals. At the close of rehearsal, each musician is expected to return their chair to the appropriate rack and all other materials to their original location.

Disciplinary Action:

Actions that warrant disciplinary action:

  • Behaviors that disrupt rehearsals or performances
  • Excessive absences
  • Excessive tardiness
  • Violation of policies, procedures, or code of conduct
  • Uncooperative attitude

Actions that warrant dismissal:

  • Any behavior or threat of behavior that harms other members of the USYO or Prelude
  • Inadequate performance
  • Theft or vandalism of any property
  • Excessive absences not related to extenuating circumstances that have been cleared by the USYO Manger (see Attendance)

Musicians will be notified in writing of any pending or potential disciplinary actions. A musician may request a review committee if a musician is in danger of dismissal due to dissatisfaction with the member’s personal conduct, attendance, or musical performance. In instances of vandalism or causing physical harm to others, the member may be dismissed without a formal warning.