MUSICIAN’S HANDBOOK

 

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WELCOME TO ZION'S YOUTH SYMPHONY & CHORUS


ZYSC is a group of talented young musicians throughout the Las Vegas valley.

Our mission is to cultivate the Spirit of the Lord and build testimonies of the gospel through the development of musical talent and performance of inspiring music.

We invite all youth ages 14-18, of any religion, to audition. All chorus members must also currently be enrolled in High School or comparable High School program.

ZYSC performs twice each year (fall and spring) at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Approximately six weeks prior to the performance, youth will audition and receive their music. Two to three sectional rehearsals will be held over the next four to five weeks; then rehearsals will increase for the two weeks prior to the performance.

While we are not affiliated with THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS, we have been founded by its members and support its doctrine.
Welcome to the Zion's Youth Chorus. We are delighted to have you audition. Please review this section carefully so that you will understand the audition process.

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE

All youth, ages 14 – 18 and currently in high school or home school equivalent, may audition for Zion’s Youth Chorus.

MUSICAL PREPARATION:

Vocal exercises: You will be taken through a series of vocal exercises to help us determine your range and vocal color/production. No prior preparation is necessary for this step of your audition. Rhythm Sight Reading: As part of your audition, you will be shown a short 4-8 measure rhythm notation. You will be given about 30 seconds to review the pattern and then count or clap this rhythm using any counting method you are comfortable with. Be sure to keep or feel a steady beat so it is clear where you are in the exercise when you perform it. To prepare for this practice you can google “rhythm sight reading exercises” for resources to help you practice. Sight Singing: As part of your audition, you will be shown a short 4-8 measure melodic pattern. You will be given about 30 seconds to review the melody and then asked to sing it using solfa/solfege (do, re, mi, etc) or sing it on ‘la, la, la’ or any neutral syllable of your choice. If you plan to use solfa please base your ‘do’ on the key signature (movable ‘do’), not fixed on middle C (fixed ‘do’). To prepare for this, google "sight singing exercises". Solfa Scale: You will be asked to sing a SOLFA scale (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do) as a solo. Be prepared to sing it up and down on solfa. Starting pitches will be given based on your anticipated vocal part:
  • Soprano I: F above middle C
  • Soprano II: D above middle C
  • Alto I: Bb below middle C
  • Alto II: G below middle C
  • Tenor I: F below middle C
  • Tenor II: D below middle C
  • Baritone: Bb (2nd line of the bass clef)
  • Bass: G (bottom line of the bass clef)
Hymn:
  • You will audition in a small group (8-10 musicians) with the hymn “ALL CREATURES OF OUR GOD AND KING.” (LDS HYMNS #62)
  • Be prepared to sing all verses
  • You will be allowed to have a hymn book to reference while you sing
  • You will be asked to first perform the part you plan to audition for but are encouraged to know any other parts that are within your capabilities
  • You may also be asked to sing your part individually after you sing with the group
  • Your ability (and willingness) to sing multiple voice parts is a testament to your overall musicianship and a great asset to our ensemble
  • See below for part tracks of each of the 4 parts of this song:
    • Soprano
    • Alto
    • Tenor
    • Bass
    • All Parts together
      • Audio Recordings of each vocal part may be downloaded HERE

SIGNING UP FOR A CHORUS AUDITION

DAY OF THE AUDITION

  • Arrive at least 30 minutes early to sign in and have your height measured
  • Professional dress (Sunday dress) is required
  • Bring printed audition form with a passport sized photo (2x3 inch headshot) attached. You will not be eligible to audition without it
  • You will be notified by email about the results of your audition within the week after auditions have completed

CHORUS AUDITION QUESTIONS

For questions regarding chorus auditions, please email chorus@zionsyouth.org

AUDITION LOCATION

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located at 6100 Alta Dr. Las Vegas, NV 89107
Welcome to the symphony. We are delighted to have you audition. Please review this section carefully so that you will understand the audition process.

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE

Zion’s Youth Symphony is open to all youth, ages 14-18 by audition. Younger youth may audition with the discretion of the Symphony Director.

AUDITION REQUIREMENTS

Please arrive at your audition 15 minutes early and be prepared to do the following: Strings:
  • A three-octave scale of your choice
  • A one-minute excerpt from a performance piece of your choice that shows off what you can do (vibrato, shifting, various bowing techniques)
  • You will be given an excerpt from our upcoming program to sight read
Percussion:
  • When you sign up, be sure to indicate which instrument you want to play in the audition
    • Timpanists should be prepared to play a small timpani excerpt or piece of your choosing that demonstrates your understanding of reading, rhythms, and tuning
    • Other percussionists (drums, mallets, etc.) should be ready to read and perform rhythms. We are looking for musicians who are very versatile
Winds and Brass:
  • A two-octave scale of your choice
  • A one minute excerpt from a performance piece of your choice
  • You will be given an excerpt from our upcoming program to sight read
Pianists:
  • A three-octave scale of your choice (hands together)
  • A one minute excerpt from a performance piece of your choice
  • You will be given an excerpt from our upcoming program to sight read

PREPARING FOR AN AUDITION

  • Take Private Lessons. A good teacher will help you become better faster than you can work alone. Parents, make the commitment! Most youth who do not make it into the symphony do not have a private teacher.
  • Scales:
    • Intonation is most important, and a big beautiful sound is a close second.
    • Strings: Use big bows and produce the loveliest sound you can. Be generous!
    • Winds and brass: Show that you can play legato as well as tonguing the notes. Play your scale ascending one way and descending the other. As with the strings, it is all about a beautiful sound. (Leave your marching band sound on the field!).
  • Audition Piece:
    • Choose a section from one piece (1 minute in length) that shows off what you can do on your instrument.
      • String Players: We are specifically looking at your ability to shift as well as your vibrato. Feel free to include any special techniques such as double or triple stops, etc.
      • Winds and Brass: Show off your range, agility on your instrument, and any special techniques you can demonstrate in your piece.
    • Omit repeats when you audition.
  • Sight Reading:
    • Prepare for this by knowing your key signatures and time signatures. If you see three flats and you start to sweat, Google “Key Signatures” and get to work.
    • Before you play, take some time to look over the selection. Check key signature and time signature as well as any tempo markings, accidentals, difficult rhythms, bowings, or articulation marks so they won’t come as a surprise to you as you play. Look for CHANGES to the key or time signatures in the middle of the selection. We get tricky sometimes!
    • It is more important to play accurately than fast.
    • COUNT! If you do not have a steady beat in your head, then how will you know how long to hold a half note? PRACTICE THIS!!! We will have a steady beat in our heads, so should you!
  • Thoughts:
    • We want you to do your very best! We are on YOUR side!
    • EVERYONE GETS NERVOUS! Here’s the secret: Practice getting nervous!  Practice in front of your teacher, your parents, your friends and total strangers if possible. You will learn what your body does and how you can get through it successfully.
    • Before your audition, ask yourself: “How will I fit into Zion’s Youth? Can I respond quickly to direction? Can I keep a steady beat? Can I read and perform the markings in the score? Can I follow a conductor? Am I willing to work hard to fix my mistakes?”

SIGNING UP FOR A SYMPHONY AUDITION

  1. Review the SYMPHONY EXPECTATIONS AND ATTENDANCE POLICY
  2. Review the ZYSC CALENDAR
  3. Complete the REHEARSAL CONFLICT FORM
  4. Complete the SYMPHONY AUDITION FORM
  5. Schedule an AUDITION TIME

If you are auditioning on more than one instrument (ex: flute and piccolo), please submit a separate audition form and sign-up for a separate time slot for each instrument.

DAY OF AUDITION

  • Arrive at least 15 minutes early. This will allow time to check in, unpack, and warm up.
  • Sunday Dress will ensure a more professional audition.
  • You will be notified through email about the results of your audition within the week after auditions have completed.

SYMPHONY AUDITION QUESTIONS

For questions regarding symphony auditions, please email symphony@zionsyouth.org

AUDITION LOCATION

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located at 6100 Alta Dr. Las Vegas, NV 89107

I'VE MADE IT... NOW WHAT?

Here are the steps that you need to follow:
  1. REGISTER as a member of Zion’s Youth Symphony & Chorus
  2. PAY your TUITION
  3. WATCH your EMAIL for additional newsletters containing information about rehearsals and other pertinent details ( Please READ & RESPOND)
  4. CHECK the ZYSC CALENDAR (and mark your calendar) so that you are aware of ALL Rehearsal Dates including the Welcome Fireside
  5. Symphony members please review your REHEARSAL CONFLICTS FORM and let the Symphony Assistant Manager know of any changes: symphony@zionsyouth.org. Chorus members please submit the CHORUS REHEARSAL CONFLICTS FORM to the Choir Manager at the Welcome Fireside: chorus@zionsyouth.org
  6. ATTEND the WELCOME FIRESIDE where you will receive your music and get started
    • Bring your instrument
    • Bring a 1-inch black binder for your music (You will not receive your music without it)
    • Bring a pencil
    • Wear Sunday Dress
  7. REVIEW the entire MUSICIAN’S HANDBOOK where you will find most of the answers to all of your questions
  8. ACQUIRE PERFORMANCE DRESS
Zion’s Youth Symphony & Chorus assess membership tuition for EACH performance. While ALL Board Members serve voluntarily, every show costs well over $50,000 to produce. We rely entirely on the tuition of members and generous donations from the community.

TUITION

  • Tuition is $75 per performance (Fall & Spring) and is due one week prior to the WELCOME FIRESIDE
  • If Tuition is not received by the due date the musician may lose his/her seat to an alternate
  • Pay your TUITION

TUITION WAIVER

For those who cannot afford to pay tuition, we have a limited number of scholarship waivers available in which your tuition may be waived. We recommend that if a waiver is needed, a member apply early.  All waiver requests must be submitted one week before the welcome fireside.

TO APPLY:

For questions regarding a Tuition Waiver, please email: Registrar@zionsyouth.org
Zion’s Youth Chorus aspires for excellence. Our Chorus Expectations and Attendance Policies were developed to help ensure a high-quality experience and performance. Please take your commitment seriously and do your part to help us all succeed.

CHORUS EXPECTATIONS

  • It is expected that all musicians will be in their seats, ready to begin, five minutes before the rehearsal start time
  • Musicians will always bring their music and a pencil
  • Musicians will be respectful during rehearsals. They will not talk, use cell phones, complete homework, or disrupt the rehearsal in any other way
  • Musicians will not chew gum or eat food during rehearsal time
  • Musicians will abide by the dress standards in the FOR THE STRENGTH OF YOUTH pamphlet
  • Participants need to be in modest clothing at all rehearsals
  • Musicians will listen to and practice their music outside of rehearsals. They will understand that rehearsal time is for polishing, not for learning the notes
  • Musicians will stay on site during entire rehearsal unless prearranged with Chorus Manager
  • Musicians will help clean up after rehearsals
  • Musicians will return music to ZYSC Librarian after the performance

CHORUS ATTENDANCE POLICIES

Please be aware that our attendance policies were developed to ensure a high-quality performance. Because our practice time is limited, we ask that all Chorus members fully commit to the rehearsal process by making every effort to attend all meetings, sectionals, and rehearsals.
  • Tardiness. A half-hour late to a meeting, sectional, or rehearsal may constitute half of an absence. More than an hour late may constitute a full absence. But please note that even if you're going to be an hour late (especially if it's for a good reason, which we may excuse), we'd rather you come to rehearsal tardy than not at all.
  • Pre-arranged absences. Pre-arranged absence (or late arrival) reasons must be noted on the "Chorus Attendance Conflicts Form," and the chorus manager will determine whether the absence will be excused or unexcused.
  • Excused absences include school commitments you can't reschedule, major family events (e.g., weddings, funerals), family emergencies, or last-minute illness or injury.
  • Unexcused absences may include family vacations, recreational conflicts, homework or project conflicts (especially due to poor time prioritization or procrastination), and no-shows.
  • Dress Rehearsal. Dress Rehearsal attendance is mandatory. Chorus members who are absent from Dress Rehearsal will not be eligible to perform in the current season's show.
  • Attendance conflict communication. It is the responsibility of Chorus members to communicate with the Chorus Manager (chorus@zionsyouth.org) regarding any attendance conflicts, even in the case of last-minute emergency or illness.
Zion’s Youth Symphony aspires for excellence. Our Symphony Expectations and Attendance Policies were developed to help ensure a high-quality experience and performance. Please take your commitment seriously and do your part to help us all succeed.

SYMPHONY EXPECTATIONS

  • It is expected that all musicians will be in their seats, tuned and ready to begin, five minutes before the rehearsal start time
  • Musicians will always bring their music, instrument, and a pencil
  • Musicians will be respectful during rehearsals. They will not talk, use cell phones, complete homework, or disrupt the rehearsal in any other way
  • Musicians will not chew gum or eat food during rehearsal time
  • Musicians will abide by the dress standards in the FOR THE STRENGTH OF YOUTH pamphlet. Participants need to be in modest clothing at all rehearsals
  • Musicians will listen to and practice their music outside of rehearsals. They will understand that rehearsal time is for polishing, not for learning the notes
  • Musicians will stay on site during entire rehearsal unless prearranged with Symphony Assistant Manager
  • Musicians will help clean up after rehearsals
  • Musicians will return music to ZYSC Symphony Manager after the performance

SYMPHONY ATTENDANCE POLICIES

  • Because our practice time is limited, we ask that all Symphony members fully commit to the rehearsal process by making every effort to attend all rehearsals
  • We recognize that conflicts will arise, and so require that all absences and late arrivals be submitted for review before auditions on each musician's REHEARSAL CONFLICTS FORM. Any changes thereafter must be pre-approved by the Symphony Assistant Manager.
  • Please be aware that appropriate absences are those caused by other musical or school commitments, and family emergencies or major family events such as weddings. Other minor activities are usually not excused
  • We expect, if musicians wish to perform in a given season, that our limited rehearsals take priority over family vacations or other recreational conflicts
  • It is the responsibility of the musician to communicate with the Symphony Assistant Manager, even in the case of last-minute emergency or illness
Symphony Assistant Manager: symphony@zionsyouth.org

REHEARSALS

All Rehearsals will be held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - 6100 Alta Dr. Las Vegas, NV 89107

PERFORMANCE DAY

Sacrament Meeting and Lunch will be held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - 509 S. 9th Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101

Performances will be at the Smith Center - 361 Symphony Park Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89106
As a representative of Zion’s Youth Symphony & Chorus, musicians will be on their best behavior at all times.
  • Musicians may not leave the Smith Center facility or grounds without prior authorization
  • Musicians must stay in assigned areas and not explore
  • Musicians must clean up after themselves, including food and beverages
  • Musicians are advised to leave valuables at home
Performance day is both exhilarating and physically demanding. All participants should be well rested and well hydrated.

APPROXIMATE SCHEDULE:

10:00 am - Sacrament Meeting (Young men will receive their ties)
11:00 am - Lunch will be provided at the church
11:45 am - Musicians will be transported to the Smith Center
12:00 pm - Rehearsal
2:00 pm - Break
2:20 pm - Rehearsal
4:00 pm - Snack will be provided
5:00 pm - Performance
6:30 pm - Dinner will be provided
7:30 pm - Performance
8:30 pm - Pack instruments, clean green rooms, meet parents/guests in the lobby or outside on the northwest corner

SEE REHEARSAL AND PERFORMANCE LOCATIONS
Uniformity and elegance on stage contribute to the overall experience for our audience. Please be prepared well in advance of the performance day with the appropriate attire.

GIRLS:

  • Black floor-length dress, long-sleeved* (if short-sleeved, you must wear a matching long-sleeved black jacket or sweater); OR Black floor-length skirt with black top, long-sleeved (if short-sleeved, you must wear a matching long-sleeved black jacket or sweater)

*Long-sleeved means to the wrists; 3/4-length is not acceptable

  • Black closed-toe shoes
    • Choir: Flat, no heel (standing comfort is important)
    • Symphony: may wear a slight heel for playing comfort
  • Black hose
  • NO jewelry or watches, except for a small pair of earrings

BOYS:

  • Solid black suit (no pinstripes)
    • Symphony boys may wear an orchestra tuxedo
  • Black dress shoes
  • Black socks
  • White, long-sleeved, button-down dress shirt
  • No jewelry or watches
  • No Tie: it will be provided by ZYSC (and you get to keep it!)
Tickets may be purchased at zionsyouth.org (not on The Smith Center website).  By making a per-seat donation, you will receive a ticket for a specific seat in your desired donation level. Seat assignments are made according to purchase date.  Tickets will be mailed to the address provided.  Purchases made less than one week prior to a performance will be held at Zion's Youth Will Call, outside the Smith Center Box Office, on the event date.  For handicapped seating or other special seating needs, reply to the order confirmation email.  Children ages 5 and up are welcome at the performances - No Babies Please.  Any extra tickets will be given out on the day of the event, 1.5 hours prior to concert time.

SEAT DONATION LEVELS

  • Box Tier - Donors Circle Only
  • Orchestra - $35 each seat
  • Parterre - $25 each seat
  • Dress Circle - $20 each seat
  • Gallery - $15 each seat
  • Balcony - $5 each seat

THE WELCOME FIRESIDE ACCOMPLISHES THREE THINGS:

  1. Brings the Spirit of Zion’s Youth to the Forefront
  2. Organizes & Jump-Starts the Symphony and Chorus
  3. Informs Parents
The Welcome Fireside is the first time the Chorus and Symphony come together. It provides the platform and opportunity to introduce the current production, sparks the desire for youth to delve into the musical score, and brings the richness of the spirit found within. They will receive their music and meet the Directors and other board members. All youth must:
  • Wear Sunday Dress
  • Bring an instrument (Symphony)
  • Bring a 1-inch black binder for music
  • Bring a pencil
The Welcome Fireside keeps parents in the loop: The Welcome Fireside is THE ONE PLACE & TIME when all ZYSC parents and board are together. It’s the perfect occasion for questions and answers. Parents will be given important information about Zion’s Youth and in particular for the success of the current production.
  • Please plan on attending the PARENT MEETING in the Chapel.
Location: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 6100 Alta Dr. Las Vegas, NV 89107
We are grateful for the many parents who make Zion’s Youth Symphony and Choir possible. Each concert requires about 100 parent volunteers just to provide security, cleaning, meal assistance and equipment management during rehearsals and on performance days. We encourage each family to provide at least one volunteer for each of the two concerts per season. To show our appreciation, we offer two tickets to one of the ZYSC performances upon completion of volunteer duties.

SECURITY
Each rehearsal, three men patrol inside and outside of the church--including the parking lot--until the building is empty.

WEEKDAY CLEANING
Following rehearsal, empty trash throughout church building and clean and restock bathrooms.

WEEKEND CLEANING
After the final rehearsal of each week, provide a thorough cleaning of the church building. This includes emptying trash, cleaning and restocking bathrooms, vacuuming all rooms, mopping floors, wiping/dusting hard surfaces, and cleaning windows.

CHAIR SET-UP
Arrive an hour before rehearsal to set up chairs for choir and symphony, and help set up other rehearsal equipment as needed.

CHAIR STACKING / TRUCK LOADING
Take down and put away chairs and equipment used for rehearsal. Load truck with items to be taken to the Smith Center for Sunday performance.

UNLOADING TRUCK AT SMITH CENTER – PRE-PERFORMANCE
Meet at the Smith Center the morning of performances to unload equipment from the truck loaded the night before.

LOADING TRUCK – POST-PERFORMANCE
Following the final Sunday performance, load equipment onto a truck at the Smith Center loading dock to be taken back to the Alta/Jones building.

UNLOADING TRUCK AT ALTA / JONES BUILDING
Meet the truck at the Alta/Jones LDS meeting house after the final ZYSC performance—approximately 9:00 pm. Unload the equipment from the truck and place in storage at the Alta/Jones building.

LUNCH / DINNER HELP
Arrive 15-20 minutes before scheduled lunch or dinner times to help distribute meals, restock food, and help clean up afterward.