Are you interested in joining the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony or Classical Orchestra? Auditions for both ensembles are held each May for the following season.


  • Students will need to upload a video of their prepared audition piece, common piece (scales & sight-reading) on or before May 23. Please review the information below carefully. If you have questions, please contact us at 616-842-6566 or
  • Current students: If you are a current member of either Youth Symphony or the Classical Orchestra and wish to stay in your current orchestra in 2024-2025, you must log into the Members Only site and choose “save spot” (under the Audition and Registration Status) by May 16. This will secure your spot for next year! (Current students would have to re-audition if they wish to change to a different instrument or if a Classical Orchestra student wants to join the Youth Symphony.) There is a $20.00 fee for reserving your spot.


Students are eligible to audition if they are:

  • Between the ages of 12 and 21.
  • A member of their school band and/or orchestra or a comparable program for homeschoolers. (School band and orchestra leaders: Read this letter from the Conductor to you.)
  • Prepare to commit to the rehearsal and concert schedule. (Wind players: Monday evening rehearsals may conflict with marching band schedules. Conflicts are normally resolved between school band directors and the GRYS staff.

There is only one audition for the two groups:

Audition Process*

*This is the process for the 2024-2025 season. Here are the steps to follow:

1 –> Complete the audition application: The application deadline and $30.00 fee is required by May 16, 2024. The $30 audition fee is payable by PayPal or credit/debit card. IMPORTANT! On May 17 students will be sent required scales and common piece (formally sight reading) to be uploaded to the website by May 23, 2024.

2 –> –> Submit a video recording of your prepared piece no later than May 23, 2024: See below for details about the prepared solo or etude for your instrument (note special instructions for percussionists below). You will find detailed instructions on the audition site after you’ve completed the audition application. The audition performance can be uploaded at anytime before May 23. The scales and sight reading can be uploaded starting May17 till May 23. In summary: Please record a video of yourself performing your prepared piece, scales and common piece (sight-reading)— with a clock (that has a hour, minute & second hand OR a digital clock showing the same) in the background so we can see that the performance was recorded in a single take. Upload the video file to our audition website. We will convert your video file to an audio file to keep your audition anonymous.

For Strings, Winds, and Harp

1. Prepared solo or etude:

  • 3 to 5 minutes in length (without piano accompaniment) — work with your private lesson instructor to select an appropriate piece; select the portion of the piece that best showcases your abilities
  • Solo does not have to be memorized

2. Sight-reading (there will be a link and uploading will start May 17 – May 23)

3. Memorized scales: (there will be a link and uploading will start May 17 – May 23)

  • Major: C, G, D, A, E, F, Bb, Eb, Ab
  • Melodic minor: A, E, B, F#, C#, D, G, C, F
  • Chromatic scale
  • Scale sheets/books are NOT allowed

For Percussion

Proficiency on the following instruments is desirable but not mandatory: timpani, snare drum, multiple percussion, mallets.

1. Prepared performance:

  • Short solo on timpani, snare drum, multiple percussion, and/or mallet (concert type, not rudimental or drum set) solo does not have to be memorized
  • Long roll on timpani and snare: soft to loud to soft

2. Sight-reading(there will be a link and uploading will start May 17 – May 23)

3. Memorized scales (there will be a link and uploading will start May 17 – May 23)

  • Major scales: C, F, Bb, G, D — on mallets (xylophone or marimba)

After Your Audition

  • Our adjudicators/music staff will place students according to the quality of their recorded audition.
  • You will receive an email notifying you of your audition results in June or July. String players may be placed in either the Classical Orchestra or the Youth Symphony.
  • IF YOU RECEIVE A LETTER OF INVITATION to the GRYS or Classical Orchestra, be sure to do the following to complete your membership:
    • Return to the audition site and fill out the commitment and information form.
    • Pay your $350 (or $300 with volunteer hours) tuition fee via PayPal (note that tuition assistance is available)