WA Schools' Orchestra Festival

This event is run in partnership with the Australian Band and Orchestra Director's Association (WA). In 2016 the WA Schools' Orchestra Festival was held at Churchlands Senior High School on Saturday, 6 August and Sunday, 7 August.

The aims of the Orchestra Festival are:

  • To give orchestras a performance opportunity at an outstanding venue.
  • To give orchestra members an opportunity to hear other orchestras perform.
  • To provide each orchestra with constructive comments from a panel of informed adjudicators.
  • To present to each orchestra a certificate which recognises its participation and standard of performance.

The festival is open to any independent or government school string or symphony orchestra, with divisions catering for young, unbalanced, orchestras to experienced senior orchestras.

Orchestras perform within a division with a panel of adjudicators providing written and spoken comments. At the conclusion of the Festival, orchestras receive a certificate with a grading of Outstanding, Excellent, Merit or Certificate of Participation. Novice Division orchestras can elect to opt in or out of being graded by ticking the appropriate box on the application form. All directors will also receive two recordings of their orchestra, including one with spoken adjudicator’s comments superimposed over the music.

Orchestras, including those in Novice Division, are expected to present an appropriate program of up to four pieces, which must include one piece from the Music Selections List, with a playing time of up to 15 minutes for ensembles in Novice and C Divisions and up to 20 minutes for B, A and Premier Divisions.

Music Selections List 2016

Download the Music Selections List for 2016:

The divisions and Music Selections List have been structured to conform to the following standards:

Full Orchestra:

  • Premier Division = Grades 4 and above
  • A Division = Grades 3 and 3.5
  • B Division = Grades 2 and 2.5

String Orchestra:

  • Premier Division = Grades 4 and above
  • A Division = Grades 3 and 3.5
  • B Division = Grade 2.5
  • C Division = Grade 2
  • Novice Division = Grade 1.5 and below

Own-choice items must be of at least equal difficulty to those listed for the division the orchestra is performing in. Directors are advised to observe the published grade levels appropriate to each division in making additional selections. For more information or advice on repertoire selection contact Andrew Patrick at Instrumental Music School Services.

Please note:

  • Orchestras not presenting the required piece from the Music Selections List, or an own-choice item of too low a grade difficulty, will only be eligible to receive a Certificate of Participation.
  • While teachers or other adults are permitted to play in participating orchestras, the orchestra will only be eligible to receive a Certificate of Participation. This includes adults playing piano parts.
  • It is essential that the durations of pieces are entered accurately on the application form as this information is used to schedule performance times. Orchestras who go over their allocated performance times will only be eligible to receive a Certificate of Participation.

Many string orchestras perform at the Festival with violin and viola sections standing up. To ensure that each session runs with a minimum of seating changes, these ensembles will be scheduled to perform in succession. If you require your ensemble to stand up while performing it is essential that you tick the appropriate box on the application form.

Any enquiries relating to the festival should be directed to Tanya Chapman at Instrumental Music School Services.

Festival Photographs

Group and on-stage performance photographs of participating ensembles from the 2016 Festival are available for viewing and purchase at prophotobooth. Use the password 'aboda16'.

Conductors' Feedback

During each performance, conductors are videotaped and given constructive and confidential feedback on their conducting by an adjudicator using a separate conducting form.

This has proved to be very popular with many directors and the positive feedback that they have received, has been an extremely valuable tool in their professional development. Feedback is provided by default. If, however, you do not wish to be included, please check the box on the entry form.

Observation of the feedback process can also provide a valuable experience for tertiary education students. If you do not wish for this to occur, please check the box on the entry form.

Helpers Needed!

One of the reasons for the outstanding success of the ABODA (WA) festivals over the last three decades is the contribution made by volunteer staff. Helpers are needed in every session with such tasks as stage management, ticket selling and marshaling.

This is a great way to meet other directors and hear bands from other schools and divisions.

Most helpers from previous years have found the experience so rewarding that they come back year after year.

If you are interested in helping in one or more sessions at the Festival, please check the box on the entry form and we will contact you early in Term 3.