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ELIGIBILITY: Students are eligible to apply beginning at age five. Students are required to be able to read music and it is required that all students take private lessons. Private lessons may be waived in certain cases; for example, if a student is already able to play at the maximum required skill level for the ensemble, or if a student is unable to find a teacher for his or her instrument. A LIST OF TEACHERS CAN BE FOUND HERE. 

SCHOOL BAND/ORCHESTRA: If the student's school offers band or orchestra, the student is required to participate. Non-participation will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The school's music teacher will be notified of the student's enrollment in CYO. CYO is intended to complement, not replace, school music programs. Students participating in marching band will have excused absences during marching season, but they are required to notify their ensemble's conductor in advance of each absence.

SIX ENSEMBLES: CYO has three string only, one wind only, and two mixed ensembles. The ensembles are designed as a stair-step program in which the student can move up when ready for more challenging repertoire.

String Only - Primary, Intermediate, Chamber

Woodwinds and Brass Only - Wind

Mixed - Symphonic, Symphony



Auditions are required for all ensembles in two circumstances: (1) when first joining CYO and (2) to move to another ensemble. You must be a member of our Chamber Ensemble for a minimum of one year before auditioning to move to our Symphonic Orchestra. Musicians remaining in an ensemble from the prior year ARE NOT required to audition for the new season. All auditions to move to another ensemble must be approved by your current conductor. One additional audition is required for members of the Symphonic and Symphony orchestras to determine seating and eligibility to participate in Nutcracker performances. More information about Nutcracker is provided on the PERFORMANCES page as we get closer to the season.

Audition requirements can be found on the AUDITION page.


Participation in the 3-day Labor Day retreat is mandatory for all musicians placed in the Symphonic and Symphony ensembles. This experience provides an opportunity to get to know fellow musicians and become acquainted with the repertoire that will be performed during the upcoming season. The primary focus is on the classical repertoire, but at the retreat some contemporary pieces are thrown into the mix for fun. Professional coaches are brought in for sectionals, and the retreat culminates with a performance on the last day. The retreat tuition is separate from the regular season tuition. All meals are provided. Transportation to the retreat is provided; transportation home must be arranged by families. For more information, photos and video clips from past retreats CLICK HERE.


Attendance at all events is mandatory.

This includes the summer Workshop for Primary, Winds and Intermediate Ensembles at Cal State San Marcos, and the Labor Day weekend retreat for all Symphonic and Symphony members Musicians not a part of CYO are welcome to join the Workshop. Tell your friends- More information on the workshop and retreat are available online. 



If a student is unable to attend any CYO sponsored event, please speak with the ensemble conductor in advance to ensure that the absence will be excused. We have the entire list of PERFORMANCESlocated on our site! 


Go to our CONCERT ATTIRE page for details. To summarize some of the key points: 

The goal is to provide a professional and consistent look which is not overly dressy (feathers, sequins, high heels are not appropriate). On the other hand, casual fabrics such as denim and canvas shoes such as Sketchers are also not acceptable: attire must be conservatively formal. 

NOT ACCEPTABLE are sleeveless or short sleeve dresses, plunging necklines, and short skirts. Ladies are requested to wear black hosiery and gentlemen are required to wear black socks. Ladies are also requested to wear long dresses or skirts, although slacks are acceptable for cellists. Slacks for female players of other instruments may be discussed with the conductor on a case-by-case basis. 

Gentlemen needing a tuxedo can receive a discount to rent or buy one at Friar Tux by mentioning CYO. You will be offered a 20% discount. 


For the West Coast Festival HIGH Standard for DRESS will be requirement!! You will have to have your dress approved for this performance. 


Folders and music are property of CYO. Folders are handed out at the beginning of the season, or when you join. Music is passed out and collected back when necessary. Everyone is responsible for the music in their folders and required to return everything by the end of the season. THERE IS A $10 FEE FOR LOST FOLDERS AND MUSIC.


In addition to our website, Facebook and Twitter accounts, we also send via email a newsletter or read it on our website. To get on the mail list, sign up now.


We are always looking for volunteers. Here is more information on how you can help.

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