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«UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SCHOOL OF MUSIC, THEATRE, & DANCE University Orchestras Kenneth Kiesler Director of Orchestras, Professor of Conducting ...»

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University Orchestras

Kenneth Kiesler

Director of Orchestras, Professor of Conducting

Conductor, University Symphony Orchestra

Oriol Sans

Conductor, University Philharmonia Orchestra

Emily Avers

Director of Ensemble Operations

Paul Feeny

Ensembles Manager and Librarian


Welcome to the USO and UPO The symphonic repertoire is comprised of some of the greatest creations of the human spirit. It offers us the privilege of entering with it into life-long intimacy, and in return, it assigns us life-long responsibility. Few callings offer equal rewards. None offers greater.

It requires our intuition, patience, knowledge, humanity, awareness, openness, sensitivity and honesty. It demands the investment of our time, labor, skill, technique, discipline, devotion, commitment, and tenacity.

The University Orchestras strive to attain the highest levels of achievement. Collective performances are the result of individual efforts. Meaningful performances are the result of diverse and gifted individuals performing from a basis of our understanding of the music and our human connection. We are looking forward to concerts representing the high standards of the University of Michigan School of Music, and to a year of music-making which is enjoyable, meaningful, and fun.

Orchestras are comprised of many gifted and unique individuals. Your individual gifts play an important and unique role. We are interested in your individual development and learning, and in the quality of your experience in University Orchestras. We invite you to communicate with us. Please let the conductors and staff to know you and how we can be helpful.

The following procedures can help us have smoothly running ensembles, blend our individual talents, and have a year of excellent and enjoyable rehearsals and concerts.

Please take a few minutes to read this handbook, then keep it for future reference.


Each individual is responsible for his or her own music and folders. Payment will be required if music or folders are lost. Grades will be withheld until music and folder are returned, or payment is made.

Music must never be marked in ink. Use only soft black pencil.


All regular rehearsals begin twenty minutes before the hour unless specified by the conductor or the Personnel Manager. Other than the start times, the schedule listed on the published rehearsal schedules are approximate. It’s a good idea to arrive a few minutes before the scheduled time.

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Dress rehearsals are held at Hill Auditorium on Central campus. If the dress rehearsal is held in the morning (see schedule), a U-M charter bus will be provided for transportation to Hill, arriving at 10:25am outside of the Moore Building entrance, and departing NO LATER than 10:40am. The bus will be available outside Hill at 12:30pm to return you to the Moore Building.

Any evening dress rehearsals and all concerts require you to provide your own transportation between North and Central campus. Please allow ample time to arrive and find parking before your scheduled call time.

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All musicians must personally sign in immediately upon arrival by the indicated call time.

All musicians are to be seated on stage at least 5 minutes before the concert.

Those who play later in the program, but don’t play the opening piece, are still expected to follow these procedures. Such musicians may warm up on stage but should leave the stage 5 minutes prior to the beginning of the concert.


The following concert dress code will be STRICTLY enforced. Please purchase appropriate formal concert dress attire prior to the first concert. Musicians must be presentable and well-groomed, and attire should reflect a professional presence of mind and pride in overall ensemble presentation. In addition, perfumes and strong colognes or aftershaves are not allowed on stage.


BLACK full-length dress (no slits) or dress black pants and black blouse, worn with polished black dress shoes WITH black stockings or socks. Only black. NO casual pants or sweaters, skirts above the knee, sandals, or tight-fitting black clothing such as longsleeve t-shirts, leggings and capris. Sleeveless tops of any kind are not acceptable, and jewelry is to be kept simple and minimal. Black stockings or tights must be worn if skin above ankles will show.


BLACK tuxedo (or black suit), white shirt, black BOW tie, black socks, polished black shoes.


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Anything with a signal (cell phones, watches, etc.) must be turned OFF.

• Perfumes and strong colognes or aftershaves are not allowed at any time on stage.

• Once the house is open beginning a half hour prior to concert start time, any musician • on stage must be dressed in concert clothing.

NO food or drink other than bottled water is allowed in the auditorium or on stage.

• If you are not playing on stage, please be silent backstage. It is NOT soundproof.


Grades will be based on individual:

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Each musician is responsible for preparing all of the music to be rehearsed on a particular day to the best of her/his ability. Individual preparation and performance will contribute to the semester grade. Outstanding individual effort and/or achievement in this area will also have a positive effect and a beneficial influence on the assigned grade.

A good attitude and positive demeanor are important elements to any individual's success and to the success of the group. Attitude and demeanor will be considered in grading.

Consistent attendance and punctuality are important to the individual and the ensemble's ability to make musical progress.

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• To a regular rehearsal: first lateness does not influence grade.

• To a regular rehearsal: second lateness: automatic reduction by 1/3 grade

• To a regular rehearsal: third and each successive lateness: automatic reduction by 2/3 grade

• To a dress rehearsal: Automatic reduction by 1 full grade To a concert: Automatic reduction by 2 full grades •

• Musicians must be seated and ready to play at the posted or announced time. Those not seated and ready will be marked "late". Lateness in excess of 15 minutes will be recorded as an "unexcused absence".

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• From a regular rehearsal: automatic reduction by 1 full grade

• From a dress rehearsal: automatic reduction by 2 full grades

• From a concert: automatic failing grade, possibly having to drop the ensemble

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Absence or lateness from rehearsals or concerts will only be excused under the following


death in the family • substantiated illness or injury (NOTE: A doctor's note will be required to excuse any illness • or injury which prevents attendance beyond 1 regular rehearsal per term. Bring the note to your Personnel Manager within one week of the absence.) WITH NOTICE OF AT LEAST TWO WEEKS BEFORE (If within your control, please make every effort

to schedule the following outside of your obligations to the orchestra schedule):

outside auditions or competitions • job interviews • significant family events (such as weddings) • No excuses will be given for any recital, whether for attending or playing. Check the orchestra schedule before scheduling recitals. No excuses will be given for paid gigs or outside sub jobs.

Only University approved dates for holiday breaks are acceptable. Any exceptions for leaving early or returning late to campus are to be governed by the same rules as all other absences. If you do not follow these procedures, your absences will be unexcused.

Excessive excused absences will affect the grade and may lead to a student having to drop the ensemble. Requests for excused absence or lateness for dress rehearsals or concerts will only be considered under the most extenuating circumstance. Any request for excusal from a dress rehearsal or concert, with the exception of a medical emergency, MUST be submitted prior to parts being assigned for that concert cycle, including requests for non-assignment to opera orchestra and for observance of religious holidays. You should consider seriously the impact on your grade of missing a dress rehearsal or concert for any reason.

Procedure for Requesting an Excused Absence

Musicians who anticipate being late or absent must request an excuse via the Online Absence • Request Form, available on the SMTD Orchestras Page. All requests must be approved in advance. Such requests will be considered ONLY if received at least TWO WEEKS before the requested date. The sooner you submit your request for a pending legitimate absence, the more likely you are to be excused. Last minute requests often have a negative effect on other people, i.e. rotation, assignment of parts etc. and are often not approved.

Do not send requests directly to a conductor. Requests sent directly to a conductor may • not be processed or approved.

Responses to requests will be made via e-mail. All requests will be considered at the conductor’s • discretion. If you would like to discuss the decision, contact your personnel manager as soon as possible prior to the date in question.

Woodwind, brass, and percussion players who know in advance of an absence or lateness must • arrange for a substitute unless the conductor would prefer to leave the seat empty. It is your responsibility to include the name of your potential substitute with your request at least two weeks before the requested date. Any musician who has music and is to miss all or part of a rehearsal must assume responsibility for making the music available to his or her substitute.


1. Pick up your music early and be technically prepared for the first rehearsal. The first rehearsal is one measure of a good orchestra.

2. Don't send word of your absence with someone else. This is not acceptable.

3. Don't have your teacher call to explain an absence. This is your responsibility.

4. Check your email every day and the orchestra bulletin boards frequently.

5. Bring your music, necessary accessories (mutes, etc.), & a pencil to EVERY rehearsal.

6. Please do not wear hats or caps at concerts or rehearsals.

7. Do not use cell phones in any rehearsal or on stage.

8. Don’t forget to eat prior to rehearsal or concerts, and stay well-hydrated.

9. The highest standards of performance, preparation, attitude, attendance, and professionalism are expected of every member of a University of Michigan orchestra at every rehearsal and concert. Opera, dance and choral concerts are legitimate experiences which often include some of the greatest literature for orchestra. These occasions, and any special concerts which arise, are included. Inappropriate behavior will constitute reason for dismissal from the Orchestra.

10. Staying out or up too late is not an excuse for missing orchestra.

11. Other schools and orchestras often have more than one audition day. If given a choice, do not choose an audition day which conflicts with a University of Michigan orchestra.

12. Official information about University Orchestras is posted on the bulletin board, announced in rehearsal, and/or sent via e-mail from your Personnel Manager, Ms. Avers, Mr. Feeny, or Professor Kiesler. Any other information constitutes a rumor. Do your orchestra and yourself a favor, and be good to your friends, colleagues and professors: check your information before passing it on.

13. Simply put: Orchestra is a place to make music with friends and colleagues, a place to use and practice everything you have learned about ensemble playing and your instrument, a place to learn more so it can be applied to your other musical experiences, a place to experience some of the greatest musical literature, a place to rehearse your musical and collegial skills for use during and after school. It can be productive, exciting, rewarding, challenging, inspiring and fun, especially if its members make it so.


We are aware of your need for time to study and practice and we want to do what we can do to support you. Therefore, we’ll occasionally cancel rehearsal. This typically happens when there has been a full schedule, such as for recordings or opera, or when there is a concert the night before a regular rehearsal. We usually do rehearse when the concert has been two days before a rehearsal. For example, there would be a Wednesday rehearsal after a Monday concert, and there may be no rehearsal the Wednesday after a Tuesday concert. Except in certain unusual circumstances we don’t usually have a morning rehearsal on the same day as an evening rehearsal. It is wise to check the posted schedule or to ask your Personnel Manager. It isn’t a good idea to assume one way or another.


Prof. Kiesler would be pleased to fill out scholarship recommendations for any and all members of their ensembles if received no later than (10) school days before the submission deadline. They will also provide references for graduate school applications and employment. Please allow at least (2) weeks for letters of recommendation.

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