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Member Expectations and Policies

(Rev. May, 2019)

Congratulations on having been selected for membership in the Springfield Youth Symphony.  You have become a part of an organization dedicated to excellence.  You have earned a position in this ensemble through a successful audition and/or successful membership last season.  Throughout its 62-year history, the Springfield Youth Symphony’s achievements have been made possible through the dedication and commitment of its members.  In submitting/signing the membership agreement, you agree to abide by the policies and to meet or exceed the minimum expectations articulated below.   


Minimum Membership Qualifications

  1. SYS Student must be enrolled in and a member of his/her respective school music organization (band/orchestra), where one is available, and display cooperation in that group.
  2. SYS Student must have approval of his/her school music director.
  3. SYS Student must be studying his/her instrument in private lessons.
  4. SYS Student must be present for all rehearsals, concerts and other activities unless excused, in advance, by the music director. More than two unexcused absences per year will result in dismissal and an alternate player secured for the vacated position. Same for more than six excused absences.
  5. Participation Fee for Out-of District Students

Please note that all SYS students who reside outside of the Springfield Public Schools tax district are required to pay a $125.00 annual participation fee.  Please make checks payable to “Springfield Public Schools” and bring with you to rehearsal on or before September 10.  Please note that if the fee is not paid by October 7, you will not be allowed to rehearse or perform with the SYS.  Your position will then be filled by an alternate.  This fee does not apply to students whose primary residence is inside the Springfield Public Schools District.




  1. After two unexcused absences you and your parents will be notified that another unexcused absence will result in your dismissal from the organization.
  2. Three excused absences equal one unexcused absence. This also includes absences due to school-related activities. Six excused absences, including school-related activities, is the maximum any student can have during one school year and still remain in the SYS. There are situations that may occur that will have to be judged on an individual basis.  (Long-term illness is an example.)
  3. Three unexcused tardies equal one unexcused absence. Too much time is wasted when people are consistently late.  A student may NOT take an unexcused absence on a dress rehearsal.  If a student has an unexcused absence on either a dress rehearsal or a performance, he or she will be removed from the Springfield Youth Symphony.
  4. TO RECEIVE AN EXCUSED ABSENCE, the parent must call Mr. Johnston’s office phone to leave a message—523-8982. The message must include the reason for the absence (for example, illness).  Do not send Mr. Johnston a text message or a Facebook message to inform of an absence.  Do not assume that the conductor knows when you are absent from school because of illness.  If the conductor does not hear from parents, he must assume that the absence is unexcused.  Do not send messages with someone else.  If extenuating circumstances prevent your parent from calling Mr. Johnston’s office on the day of the absence, your parent may call the 


Additional Attendance Expectations for Performance Activities (Including Scheduled Trips)

In submitting/signing the membership agreement, each SYS student agrees to participate in ALL performances and trips.  If upon receiving the season schedule the SYS member discovers a conflict(s), he/she or his/her parents should discuss the matter with the Music Director.  After evaluating the student’s individual circumstances and considering the best interests of the Orchestra, the Music Director will determine whether the student should continue in membership.


Rehearsal Procedures and Expectations

  1. SYS members are expected to arrive at least 5 minutes before the beginning of any rehearsal. Walking in at 6:30 is unacceptable and counts as a tardy, or one-third of an unexcused absence.
  2. SYS members are expected to bring a pencil to all rehearsals.
  3. SYS members are expected to bring their individual folders to rehearsals.
  4. SYS members are expected to prepare individual parts to the best of their ability.
  5. Any talking should pertain to the musical matter at hand.
  6. Once seating placement and bowings are established in the string sections, it is the responsibility of section members to observe these bowings and copy them into their music.
  7. Students are encouraged to ask appropriate questions during the rehearsal. When possible, these questions should be directed through the section principal.
  8. No food or drink will be allowed in the rehearsal room.
  9. Be professional with phones during rehearsal. Sometimes we all have to check a message, but NOT while you are supposed to be playing or receiving instructions from the conductor.


Musical Preparedness, Performance Quality, and Professionalism

  1. Students are encouraged to bring their SYS music to their private lessons to request their teacher’s assistance with difficult passages.
  2. Students are expected to prepare their individual parts for each rehearsal
  3. THE FOLLOWING PROCEDURE SHOULD BE EXCEEDINGLY RARE: If in the opinion of the Directors a student is not performing up to the standards of the Springfield Youth Symphony, one or both of the directors will meet with that student privately to address the matters of concern.  At this meeting, the student will be given a reasonable amount of time to make improvements.  If after the conclusion of the improvement period the deficiency remains unresolved, the student may be asked to re-audition for the Springfield Youth Symphony.