Steel Orchestras FAQ

Thank you for your interest in the CYSO Steel Orchestras program! We look forward to working with you. By trying out for Steel Orchestras, you are automatically accepted and will be placed into the ensemble that best suits you level based on the musicianship displayed at your tryout.

Below are answers to frequently asked questions about being a member of CYSO Steel Orchestras.

 


 

When does the Steel Orchestras program take place and when are tryouts?

As with all CYSO programs, Steel Orchestras is a year-long program that runs through the school year from September to May. Tryouts for the next season happen in May. Tryouts for the 2018-2019 Steel Orchestras season will take place Saturday, May 19, 2018.


My child has never played an instrument before. What should we expect at the Steel Orchestras tryout?

No prior musical ability is necessary to join CYSO’s Steel Orchestras program! Students who have never played an instrument will be tested on melodic and rhythmic learning by rote. Rote learning is a memorization technique commonly used in music that is  based on repetition.


My student has played an instrument but has never played the steelpan. What should we expect and prepare for the tryout?

Students with experience will be tested on their general music knowledge as well as melodic and rhythmic sight reading on their primary instrument. Students should bring their instrument to the tryout and be prepared to play major scales and a solo or excerpt of repertoire they’re currently working on. Students interested in joining Kaiso Steel Orchestra, CYSO’s most advanced steel ensemble, should also prepare the Kaiso Audition Requirements.


My student plays the steelpan. What should we expect and prepare for their tryout?

Students with prior experience playing steelpan will be tested on their basic music knowledge. They will also be asked to perform on the steelpan and assessed on major scales, melodic and rhythmic sight reading, aural skills and rote learning. Students interested in joining Kaiso Steel Orchestra, CYSO’s most advanced steel ensemble, should also prepare the Kaiso Audition Requirements.


What are the Steel Orchestras rehearsal times?

CYSO Steel Orchestras rehearse on Saturdays at the following times:

Jumbies: 9:00 am – 10:00 am
Groove Steel Ensemble: 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Junior Steel Orchestra of Chicago: 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm or 12:30 pm – 3:00 pm for extended rehearsal days
Kaiso Steel Orchestra: 3:15 pm – 5:15 pm or 3:15 pm – 6:00 pm for extended rehearsal days


When are Steel Orchestras concerts?

CYSO Steel Orchestras perform two yearly concerts. The Fall Concert will take place in December 2018 and the Spring Concert will take place in May 2019. Junior Steel Orchestra of Chicago and Kaiso Steel Orchestra will perform at the Steel Orchestras Education Concert in February 2019 and Kaiso Steel Orchestra will also perform at the CYSO Gala in Febaruary 2019. Other performances may also occur during the season.


What is the Steel Orchestra attendance policy?

Steel Orchestras students are allowed three absences per concert cycle/semester (September – December and January – May). Absence forms may be completed online.


What is the tuition cost of Steel Orchestras?

The 2017-2018 tuition for Steel Orchestras was $300/year for Jumbies, $450/year for Groove Steel Ensemble, $600/year for Junior Steel and Kaiso. 2018-2019 tuition subject to change. See complete CYSO program tuition information.

Need-based financial assistance is available for all CYSO programs. See more information on this program.


What are the requirements for membership?

As a member of CYSO Steel Orchestras, students must adhere to the attendance policy, pay the annual tuition fee, and participate in one annual fundraiser for the CYSO gala. CYSO also recognizes the importance of in-school music programs and highly recommends that students be active participants in the music program at their school. See detailed membership requirements.

For further details about CYSO policies and procedures, please see our Parent and Student Handbook.


If you have questions, contact Scott McConnell at smcconnell@cyso.org or call 312-939-2207.