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How To Promote High School Orchestra...


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Our high school orchestra, just like many other out there, is on the verge of getting cut by the school board because they don't think orchestra is essential to many lives. But believe it or not, it is.

We are wondering, what can our orchestra do to promote and raise awareness of our High school orchestra in our school and our city because, we are not as well known as the other high school orchestra, the Cooper Fiddlers. We've thought about putting ads in the newspapers and televison, public performances, and so on. Our school barely even knows that an orchestra exists in the school. They think we are band! We are not! We are wooden instruments, with bows, and strings!

I came to this message board looking for some help and ideas on how to gain attention to our orchestra.

I'd like to thank you all in advanced for your response to this thread.


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Get out and play EVERYWHERE. Think of the places you can get the most attention, and play there. Call the TV and newspapers and tell them you will be there. Malls, Capital Bld., School Board, assemblies, BE CREATIVE!

Get the administrators involved at your concerts. Have them play on a novelty tune. (Contact J W Peppers if you need ideas) Everybody will enjoy it, and you get some great PR where it counts the most.

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Ask the school board what it would take to convince them to keep the orchestra.

Form chamber groups, play in different public places within the school district, and have someone get passers-by to sign a petition.

Look for studies showing links between musical involvement and skills in math and science. If you can't find studies, use Albert Einstein or something. There are other unseen perks to being a musician. According to the dean of our engineering school, when firms ran out of computer science students to hire during the tech boom, they turned to music students because they had the necessary drive, self-motivation, and concentration for IT jobs.

Find out why they want to cut the orchestra. Insufficient funding? See if they can lower the budget down to stuff the state absolutely has to pay for, like teacher's salary. Use orchestra fundraisers to supply the rest of the money (for music, supplies, etc.). The biggest annual fundraiser our orchestra parents booster organization did was called Rock-a-Thon. It involved students asking local business to donate to the WBOP (Walton Band and Orchestra Parents). Sponsors get a plaque, and depending on how much money they donate, a small, half page, or full page add in the WBOP Sponsors Directory (published each year). They're offered different sizes of ads according to how much they give. A student who raises over $100 by some date in September qualifies for Rock-a-Thon, an all night sort of party (Friday night to Saturday morning) held in the school gym area. There are games, a senior slide show in the auditorium, a moonwalk, big inflatable slides, and chaperones. The band and orchestra directors make a brief appearance. There's a raffle somewhere, I think, and prizes for people who raised the most money.

What has your orchestra done lately to promote the glory of your school? Has your school been well represented in local All-State and honor orchestras?

Play the diversity card. Colleges are no longer satisfied with mere straight A's, except maybe from a prestigious private school. Even then, they might want an array of extracurricular activities that distinguishes students and attests to their time management abilities and initiative (do you have elected orchestra officers helping out w/ non-performance matters?).

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I am startled at your post. When I visited Abilene a few years ago it seemed like quite a string thriving town. I remember the hall particularly was quite nice, good acoustics, etc. I believe I performed Brahms whith the Philharmonic, I forget the conductor, a man with white hair and quite striking. Seems to me you want to expose your orchestra to the powers that be in that town? I remember we had a full house, and that is a huge hall from what I recall. My friend Eugene Sarbu enjoyed playing there also. I believe he played Bruch. Also, are you sure your orchestra teacher is doing every thing possible? There is money in that town so, someone has to fight for classical music, specially strings, it is the way things are.


PS: I will add the following, this is where an approach like my dear friend Maestro Redrobe is necessary. A one way of looking at things, a fighter, a visionary. If your orchestra gets cut then it is the fault of the people the run that program. "Somebody" has to fight for it! Best to you all

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School never seem to get it. Try some of these ideas...But first of all you need to get someone at that school to fix your web site. There is not a whole lot that works correctly on it, it needs to be reorganized, and the drop down menu's need to be fixed.

1. Have someone do a concept for your page on the web site. Don't leave it to whoever is doing it now, have the orchestra input it's ideas and layout.

2. Make some bumper stickers that have a catchy phrase on the top and have the web site address below it.

3. Make sure that the new web page has a calender and upcoming events. If you do not have many then stress the importance of music in the educational arena.

4. Make some business card magnets. I know someone who did it really cheaply by going to Kinkos and making a basic business card, then Kinkos will glue them on to magnets for you. Then send them out to every parent along with a brief letter asking for their support, and also asking them to contact the Principal and Assistant Principal and telling them that they want the students to continue with their orchestra.

5. Make some recordings of the orchestra and convert them to MP3 files and put them on your web site.

That should be a bit of a starter. The key is to get the internet site up to grade, advertise-advertise-advertise, and let the parents know how important it is.

Hope this helps.

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Our local high school has a used instrument sale once a year. (This year it will be on Sept. 14.) The sale is advertising during the previous week in the classified ads section of the local paper. The consignors (usually parents) bring the instrument to the school on the night before the sale. The consignor sets what he feels is a reasonable price. If the instrument sells, the consignor gets 90% and the school gets 10%.

The sale is very well supervised. It is held in the school's cafeteria, and there are eagle-eyed adults at every exit. The sale is held from 9 to noon. The consignors must pick up their unsold instruments in the afternoon. If an instrument sells, a check is mailed to the consignor in a few days.

Nearly all the customers at this sale are bargain-hunting parents, so the instruments which actually sell are the ones with reasonable prices.

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A lot of good suggestionss already.

Not to restate the obvious but I assume that the orchestra parents are on board with saving the school program. The school board as an elected body spending tax dollars is responsive to voters and taxpayers. The parents must get organized, attend every school board meeting and lobby for the program. I have found that the cliche about the sqeaky wheel getting the grease is often true in local politics.

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I apologize for some lacking information.

The orchestra director at the other high school in town quit. So, our orchestra director took over both high schools in town. We have a performing group called, "In Flight". Since our orchestra director has both schools "under her wing", we have combined the Cooper Fiddlers with the original members of In Flight. We're thinking of a new name for our group.

Our director has also created a program that interacts with the middle school orchestra students called The String Project. In which interested middle school students pay a $5 fee per lesson with a high school student. The high school student uses that $5 to take private lessons with a teacher in which the high school student pays only $10 each lesson with a teacher or college student

The school website is run by the school. I'll talk to my director to see if we can do more.

We've had a city wide concert last spring, in which all the 6-12 grade orchestra students performed together. The ENTIRE school board and district principals were invited. And only ONE person showed up, the principal of Abilene High (he had to let us in)... We did have a full house although. But no media attention or school district TV...

We do have 3 magnificent universities in our town, Hardin-Simmons has been a great help to us.

And once again, I do appreciate your ideas and comments. They have been so helpful.

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