2021 Audition Process


Saskatoon Youth Orchestra

Prospective members should be serious students of their instruments with several years experience. They should have already developed good technique and facility and be able to play with good tone and intonation.

Player candidates will be provided with audition music specific to their instrument and may be asked to play other material to demonstrate proficiency. Only the candidate and the music director will be in the room during the audition.

String players who have not yet achieved the minimum level for the senior ensemble should consider auditioning for the Saskatoon Strings.

We do our best to eliminate undue stress during our auditions and to make it a worthwhile experience. We don’t expect perfect performances, nor do we tally mistakes.

Online auditions planned for the 2021-22 season:

Saskatoon Youth Orchestra Auditions 2021 

In order to have this year's SYO auditions be safe for everyone in the face of the COVID 19 pandemic, auditions will be done by submitting a recording of your playing. The deadline for submitting an  audition recording will be Friday, June 25, 2021. Just like live auditions, we want the audition to be as stress free as possible, we don't “count mistakes” and the aim is to get a holistic picture of your playing.
For returning players and those who have auditioned for SYO before, you'll know that the first thing our music director Richard Carnegie says is that the audition is not supposed to be like a test or exam and that if at any point you would like to try something again, feel free to do so. The same thing applies here.
You don't need fancy microphones or equipment to record your audition; whatever is on your computer or phone will do. In terms of the format:

-You can record a video or just audio, whichever you prefer

-The audition can be done in as many or as few takes as you wish. You can submit the whole recording as a single file or multiple files (i.e. one file per piece in the audition)

In terms of the audition itself, please record everything listed on your instrument's requirements a found at http://syo.ca/join

These alterations to the guidelines are in place for this unusual circumstance of recorded auditions:

-For the scales, choose two of your choice from those listed. They can be done with any articulation or bowing that you choose

-Sight reading will not be included on the audition

-Your solo doesn't need to be strictly 3-4 minutes, it can be more or less than that as you see fit

If you have any questions, particularly if this is your first time auditioning for SYO, please don't hesitate to reach out and ask. You can email our music director Richard Carnegie directly at conductor@syo.ca

If you are having problems accessing recording equipment, please let us know and we'll figure out what to do. We don't want there to be any barrier to players auditioning. If you are a percussionist, you will likely not have access to most of the instruments you would have had at school. Please email us and we will discuss.
We hope that all of you, your families, and loved ones are staying safe and healthy at this challenging time. By doing recorded auditions, we are hoping to have everything set to hit the ground running when we are able to gather again as an orchestra to make music together. We look forward to receiving your audition by Friday, June 25, 2021. We will inform you of the audition results within one week of the audition submission deadline.
Please email your recorded audition to: richard.carnegie@gmail.com

2021 Audition FAQ
If any of your questions are not answered here, please email our music director Richard Carnegie at conductor@syo.ca

What if I make a mistake in the middle of a take, should I erase it and start over again?
-  It's up to you. We want the auditions to be as stress free as possible. If you feel like you've done a great take and want to just do one little spot again, feel free to do so. You don't need to keep recording until there are no mistakes. Remember that you can put all the audition material on one take or divide it into multiple takes, it’s up to you.

Can I audition “live” but still remotely? (i.e. Skype, Zoom, Facetime etc)?
-  We debated this but decided to go with recorded auditions. Our junior string group, the Saskatoon Strings, is holding auditions in this manner because that is the best solution for them. Given the number of players in SYO, and the fact that auditions are also reviewed by our coaching staff, recorded auditions was decided to be the best solution at this time.

I thought sight reading was an important part of the audition, why isn't it included?
-  Correct, it is important, but the logistics of this and wanting to make this unusual process as stress free as possible meant that we are forgoing sight reading this year. That doesn't mean you can't practice your sight reading though! It's one of the best skills an orchestral musician can have. For an amazing sight reading practice tool, check out sightreadingfactory.com

Will the SYO season start in September as planned?
-  We hope so! But of course, we will be following the guidance of health authorities. Whenever the time comes to make music again, we want to be ready. By submitting your audition by Friday June 25 you help us ensure that we are ready to go once it's time to safely gather again.

When will I find out my audition results?
-   You will be contacted within two weeks of the submission deadline.

****To be added to the audition contact list, please email Paul Sinkewicz at: info@syo.ca

Download the required audition music:
Flute http://digioh.com/em/10533/123163/d4hsu83jue?demail=*|EMAIL|*

Clarinet http://digioh.com/em/10533/123161/nxcr8cwaxy?demail=*|EMAIL|*
Oboe http://digioh.com/em/10533/123167/rfrpps9uyk?demail=*|EMAIL|*
Bassoon http://digioh.com/em/10533/123159/w8ckjdzfwv?demail=*|EMAIL|*
Percussion http://digioh.com/em/10533/123168/jmbpkx5rg3?demail=*|EMAIL|*
Piano http://digioh.com/em/10533/123169/euk9z3zwm7?demail=*|EMAIL|*
Harp http://digioh.com/em/10533/123165/pr6825rz6y?demail=*|EMAIL|*
Trumpet http://digioh.com/em/10533/123171/pvxssknf29?demail=*|EMAIL|*
French Horn http://digioh.com/em/10533/123166/89yewyvk4z?demail=*|EMAIL|*
Trombone http://digioh.com/em/10533/123170/wsruyj9jb2?demail=*|EMAIL|*
Bass Trombone http://digioh.com/em/10533/123158/trbk98wkhj?demail=*|EMAIL|*
Tuba http://digioh.com/em/10533/163775/dsrzj3yjc8?demail=*|EMAIL|*
Violin http://digioh.com/em/10533/163779/tmrjwwkn5q?demail=*|EMAIL|*
Viola http://digioh.com/em/10533/163778/pz5fmcbtvu?demail=*|EMAIL|*
Cello http://digioh.com/em/10533/163777/ahaftudpwb?demail=*|EMAIL|*
Double Bass http://digioh.com/em/10533/163776/zhrw3aj24d?demail=*|EMAIL|*                         

Saskatoon Strings

All incoming members of the Saskatoon Strings are required to pass an audition, but don't worry! This is a developmental ensemble. The audition process merely helps the Music Director to choose music that will suit the orchestra on any given year. Members in the past have ranged in age from 10 – 18. It is a fact that the group represents many different levels of playing, and Music Director Bernadette Wilson makes every effort to ensure that everyone in the group has the opportunity to learn, whatever their age, and whatever their level of playing.

Candidates are provided with audition music specific to their instrument and may be asked to play other material to demonstrate proficiency.

Online auditions planned for the 2021-22 season:

Due to the ongoing precautions against the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the SYO will be holding auditions for the 2021-22 season remotely.
Our audition dates are planned for the evenings of Thursday, May 27 and Friday, May 28.
We will use the programs that most folks are already comfortable with -- Skype and Zoom. If you haven't used one of these programs yet, please choose one and begin to familiarize yourself with its operation.
We will let you know how the sight reading portion of the audition will occur.

Sign-up HERE for an audition time.

To be added to the audition contact list, please email Paul Sinkewicz at: info@syo.ca

SSTR Audition Materials:

SSTR Violin

SSTR Viola

SSTR Cello

SSTR Double Bass


Expectations of players

The Saskatoon Youth Orchestra and Saskatoon Strings are high-calibre music programs. Our players are expected to learn their music prior to rehearsal and attend all rehearsals and performances.

In addition they are expected to:

  • practice on a regular and continuing basis
  • take weekly private lessons, working on repertoire with your tutor as needed
  • participate in all scheduled events
  • arrive at least 15 minutes prior to rehearsal
  • have a well-maintained instrument capable of being played with good tone and intonation
  • participate in their school music program
  • conform to the concert dress policy
  • represent the SYO Inc. in a creditable manner

Frequently Asked Questions

When and where do the ensembles of the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra Inc. rehearse?

The SYO and Saskatoon Strings rehearse Sunday evenings in the Education Building on the University of Saskatchewan campus. (SYO: 5:45-8:30 p.m., Saskatoon Strings: 5:45-8 p.m.)

What are the ages of the players?

Saskatoon String players are generally 10-18 years of age.

Saskatoon Youth Orchestra players generally start in the 13-14-year-old range and go up to 25 years of age. Younger players may be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

What are the fees for the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra Inc.?

Fees for the SYO Inc. are as follows:

SYO (one player): $590. Each additional player (SYO or SSTR) from one family is $350.

SSTR (first player): $450. Each additional player from one family is $270.

Members in the SYO Inc. are required to also be members of the Saskatchewan Orchestral Association. The fees are $25 (first player), $5 (each additional player).

Is there travel involved with these groups?

The Saskatoon Strings does a school tour each spring. A bus is provided for them as well as lunch. The group generally visits about 3 schools. 

The Saskatoon Youth Orchestra travels to Rosthern in September for a retreat and also does one other trip throughout the year.

Is there opportunity for fundraising to cover fees and travel costs?

There are several different options available to players and parents in regards to fundraising. Some of the various activities that are undertaking include: QSP Magazine sales, grocery gift card sales, Saskatoon Youth Orchestra Spring Gala ticket sales and silent auction.

What involvement is expected of parents and players?

Each player must work at Sundog Craft Faire (Early December) and usher for a Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra concert. Two shifts at each event are all that is required for the year and these can be worked by the player or by the player’s parent(s). In addition, parents contribute to the general operation of the organization by completing one or two tasks during the season. Sign-up sheets for these required duties are available at registration. Parents are encouraged to attend parent and board meetings and become involved in the various committees.

Is there a concert dress requirement?

The Saskatoon Youth Orchestra and Saskatoon Strings dress codes are as follows:

SYO males: Black attire, including long-sleeved shirt, tie (optional), suit jacket (optional), long pants, black socks, black dress shoes.

SYO females: All black attire, including dresses and skirts that come at least to the knees, or full length pants, black suit jacket, black hosiery or stockings, black shoes and black blouse (shoulders and midriff must be covered).

SYO players are encouraged to dress stylishly and express their individual styles, within the confines of good taste in keeping with representing the institution of the SYO Inc. in public in a creditable manner.

Saskatoon Strings males: White, long-sleeved dress shirt, black bow tie, black belt (optional), black full length pants, black socks and black shoes.

Saskatoon Strings females: White blouse, black full length pants, or black dress or skirt that comes at least to the knees, black hosiery or socks, black dress shoes.