CVYS 2020 Spring Concert scheduled for March 15, 2020 is canceled

Inclement Weather Policy

If the Eau Claire School District cancels school, the Youth Symphony will cancel rehearsal.  If schools are dismissed early, rehearsal will also be cancelled.  If inclement weather occurs after school hours, any rehearsal cancellations will be communicated on this website and on social media as soon as possible. If school is delayed 2 hours, rehearsal will be held, unless otherwise noted on this website.



2019-2020 Musician Handbook PDF

Musician Handbook 
 2019-2020 Concert Season

Introduction – The mission of the Chippewa Valley Youth Symphony Orchestra is to provide a unique opportunity for area youth to develop and showcase their artistry in the symphonic tradition and to enhance their lives and the cultural environment of the communities they live in.

The Youth Symphony Orchestra is a full orchestra comprised of young musicians in 7th-12th grade who demonstrate an ability to perform at an advanced level. Students will enjoy the enrichment and challenge of performing with other serious and dedicated musicians. Participation is based on musical ability as well as the specific needs of the orchestra for the season. Students in 7th-12th grade who play an orchestral instrument may audition.

Music Staff
Staff for the 2019-2020 Concert Season
Music Director – Dr. John Stewart
Section Leaders – please see website


It is the belief of the Music Director and the Board of Directors that the opportunity to participate in the Chippewa Valley Youth Symphony Orchestra program (CVYS) requires a serious commitment on the part of its musicians and their families.

Concerts - The students work hard to prepare for the concerts scheduled. To ensure the highest quality performances, participation in the all concerts and performances is mandatory for all students. There will be four concerts during the 2019-2020 concert season.  There will be a dress rehearsal scheduled before each concert. All students are expected to attend both the dress rehearsal and the concert.

Concert Dress is “Concert Black”
Boys - black pants, black shirt, tie, black shoes
Girls - black skirt/dress with black hose/tights, or pants, black shirt/blouse, black shoes

Rehearsals – There are a limited number of rehearsals scheduled prior to concerts, so it is critical that students attend all rehearsals. We do understand that school music events come first, however, they do count as an absence. With limited rehearsals before each concert, more than one absence is not acceptable.  If attendance is an issue, participation in the upcoming concert will be at the conductor’s discretion.

Absences - All absences need to be submitted electronically through the website: or navigate to>members area>forms>absence form. This needs to be sent in one week prior to the absence or as soon as the absence is known. For family emergencies, the absence must be submitted via the website before the rehearsal if possible.

Any member missing the dress rehearsal (the last full rehearsal prior to each concert) may not be allowed to participate in the concert. Please notify the Music Director ahead of time to discuss.

If you are unable to play your instrument for any reason, you are still expected to attend rehearsal, take notes and stay “in tune” with what is going on in your section.

Being Prompt - Please arrive by 5:40 p.m., be seated and warmed up ready to go at 5:50 p.m. Members are asked to use the absence form on the website if they know they will be tardy or have to leave early.

Sign In sheet -Section leaders will be taking attendance at each rehearsal. Tardiness is disruptive to the rehearsal.  

Music Policy - Each CVYS musician will be assigned a music folder with concert music in it. Each player is responsible for his/her own folder and the music issued. Any lost or damaged music will need to be replaced, and the cost will be charged to the student’s family. It is the musician’s responsibility to be sure that all the music is returned. Please use ONLY PENCIL to write on your pieces. No pens, highlighters or markers are to be used! Non-musical marking of music is unacceptable.

Musicians not performing in the final concert of the semester are expected to return their music and folder before the concert performance. If a musician discontinues with the youth symphony, music must be returned within 10 days of notice. CVYS does not assume responsibility for any personal items left in music folders. If a member loses any or all of their music, CVYS will charge replacement costs: $5.00 for a lost piece of music, $25.00 for a lost folder of music. A musician who has failed to return music or pay replacement costs will not be permitted to participate in orchestra activities until he/she has arranged for replacement of the music.

Students who need to borrow additional music during a rehearsal need to ask the section leader for those copies and then return them at the end of the practice session.

What to Bring to Rehearsals –
Your instrument with all its proper accessories (mutes, reeds, rock stops, etc.) Remember to bring your instrument home from school on Friday!

  • The music folder and music you have been given
  • A #2 pencil with an eraser
  • All string players should have an extra set of strings in their instrument case.
  • All woodwind players should have extra reeds in their cases.
  • Come to the rehearsals musically prepared. Know your music.

Use of Rehearsal Facilities:

- No FOOD, GUM or DRINKS are allowed in the rehearsal or sectional rooms at any time. 
 - All members need to pick up trash and be sure to leave the room in good order. 
- You are responsible for keeping your instrument or other belongings safe during a rehearsal. CVYS is not responsible for damage or theft of your instrument or other belongings. Please do not leave instruments unattended or lying on chairs where they can be knocked off or damaged.


  • You are asked to be in your chair, warmed up, tuned and ready for the first downbeat at starting time.
  • When the conductor stops for a correction, cease playing immediately and pay attention to what is being said.
  • Give your full attention to the conductor. Please no talking or disruptive behavior while the conductor is on the stand. Social conversation should be limited to the break and after rehearsal.
  • Parents, families, music teachers and friends are welcome to visit any of the rehearsals. However, we ask them to sit quietly and observe.


Auditions - All students will be asked to audition once per year in the spring, as this gives the Music Director and section coaches an understanding of each student’s level of play. Students who will be high school juniors and seniors in the coming season AND who have been in CVYS for at least 4 semesters are exempt from auditions for the next season but must still register online if they intend to return to CVYS the following year. The Music Director and the Board would like to offer this enrichment opportunity to all interested students, but to create a full and balanced orchestra, there are limited numbers of musicians in each section. The Music Director's placement decisions are final.

Students who do not make it into CVYS one season are encouraged to continue to develop their skill and musicianship and consider auditioning for another season. The Chippewa Valley Youth Symphony accepts applicants based on their musical ability, without regard to sex, race, religion, disability or national origin.

School Participation Policy - CVYS is fully committed to supporting the arts in our schools. School music programs contribute greatly to the success of this enrichment experience. The Youth Symphony should never be used as a replacement for participation in a school music program. All members of the CVYS are required to participate in their school orchestra or band when these programs are offered.  Any student who is unable to participate for any reason must inform the CVYS Music Director in writing.

Chamber Music Ensembles

Chamber music provides an opportunity for our students to grow as individual musicians in a different way than the full orchestra and will be part of our upcoming season.  Chamber ensembles may be featured at concerts and may have the opportunity to play in many public situations on behalf of the CVYS.  If you are interested in participating in a chamber ensemble, please make your interest known to Dr. Stewart ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ).

Registration Process: 

At the mandatory parent meeting in September, each musician is required to have a parent or guardian present to review season information and submit forms, sign up for volunteer commitment and pay fees.  Musician registration is complete when all of these criteria are met.

Volunteer Expectations - Each family is asked to commit to donating time or talent in some way. Please go to the Volunteer Assignments in the Members area of our website and sign up for at least one volunteer slot. The registration process will require this step to be complete before your student is fully registered.

The Youth Symphony is a volunteer-run non-profit organization with a part time Executive Director and volunteer Board of Directors.

Semester Program Fees – We estimate the cost per student per semester to be $250. Musician fees help to defray those costs but do not cover all operational expenses. These fees directly support the music staff salaries, music rental/purchase, concert expenses and more.  Program fees are due on September 10th for first semester and February 4th for second semester.  Families can pay by semester or for a full year.  Program fees are nonrefundable.  

Program fees for Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 are $150/semester for first child, and $100/semester for second and subsequent children in the same family.  Make checks out to CVYS, or pay online at

In addition to tuition, each musician is required to purchase a booklet of 10 CVYS concert tickets each year at the cost of $50. Tickets may be used by family members, given as gifts or sold to recover the cost.

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance for students who qualify for free and reduced lunch is available.  Students requesting scholarships are required to fill out a scholarship
application form. The form will be reviewed by the Board of Directors and the student will be advised of the amount of scholarship awarded. Students receiving financial assistance are required to participate as volunteers as necessary. Student financial assistance information will be kept confidential.


The Music Director, Executive Director and the Board are committed to timely and regular communication with the musicians and parents.

With the primary source of communication being through email and the CVYS website, each musician and parent are asked to bookmark the CVYS page to keep up to date on announcements and to keep your email current with the CVYS office staff.    The organization also has a Facebook page, a Twitter feed (@cvyouthsymphony), Instagram(@cv_youth_symphony) and Snapchat(cvyouthsymphony) accounts. Follow/Like/Share us!

Partners in the community
The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is a strong community partner and provides in-kind rehearsal and concert space for our use. In addition to use of space, university music students will be working closely with students through sectionals and in cooperation with UW-Eau Claire faculty as they integrate the Youth Symphony experience into their curriculum. 

Other community partners include the Chippewa Valley Symphony and the Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra. Both of these organizations and the musicians involved are supportive of our young musicians and work with our Music Director to explore performance opportunities and continue to develop a strong, collaborative relationship that nurtures and inspires our youth. 

All CVYS musicians are asked to read this handbook and abide by all its policies. Parents or guardians are asked to ensure that their child reads and understands the expectations of the organization.





Our Core Values

* We value the excellence of our music instruction and mentoring.
* We encourage personal development, creativity, discipline, and collaboration.
* We seek to provide financial assistance through scholarships so no one is excluded on the basis of ability to pay.
* We aspire to a culture of fairness and mutual respect.
* We expect a strong commitment from all members of the CVYS team including musicians, staff, and volunteers.
* We encourage the important relationship between our musicians and their teachers, families, and audiences.
* We value quality performances at various venues including collaboration with acclaimed artists and ensembles.
* We strive to be an inclusive organization reflecting the diversity of the greater Chippewa Valley area.