Reply To: Festival Advice
How exciting for you to finally have this opportunity! First off, I would check your state rules on participation. I know in Wisconsin we have rules about minimum students participating, but that doesn’t prohibit small ensembles from playing- it just gives them an exemption from the festival/clinic rule to be a member of our state music association. I think all states have different regs, so just check to make sure.
Secondly, don’t feel bad about “taking” a slot! Every student deserves to have this opportunity from big schools or small. Many of us here come from very small schools- in my school, grades 6-8 have fewer than 40 kids TOTAL (about 200 prek-12) and we still participate. Giving your students more performance opportunities could really help build your program. For a middle school festival, I would expect students to play grade 1.5 level music or so- maybe 2. The selections on my state’s middle school list are generally right around there. Maybe push your ensembles toward a 2 for one selection, and then do an easier second selection?
I wouldn’t call your strings an orchestra either- I think you have the title right. Again, check the state regs on this one, but if six students constitutes a large ensemble, go for it!