Tulsa Youth Symphony

2017–2018 Student and Parent Handbook

Tulsa Youth Symphony’s Mission

The Tulsa Youth Symphony (Tulsa Youth Symphony or TYS) was founded in 1963 with a stated mission to provide advanced orchestral training and performance experience for talented young musicians in northeastern Oklahoma. We work to instill a love for music and stimulate an interest in the arts that will create an audience and patrons for the future. Our organization is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by a combination of sources including tuition, volunteerism, concert admission, grants, special projects and donations.

Performance schedule

The most up-to-date concert information is available on our home page.

Policy on participation in a school group

TYS and the schools share a common goal of educating future musicians. TYS recognizes the importance of school music programs and requires its members to be active participants in those programs.

Members whose school does not provide an orchestra or band program must be enrolled and active in weekly private lessons on the instrument they play in the Youth Symphony.

Members whose school provides an orchestra or band program must be enrolled in it. Specifically, TYS string players must be enrolled in their school orchestra program and TYS wind, brass and percussion players must be enrolled in their school band or orchestra.

Staying up-to-date on TYS information

TYS keeps members and their parents informed in a number of ways. The most up-to-date information and schedules are here on our website, and on the TYS current members Facebook page, where you'll receive late-breaking rehearsal information along with musician and concert photos. Some updates also will be sent via email. All announcements should be read by both students and parents. Please keep us updated on any changes of address, phone number, or email by contacting Sue Loomis at Sue.Loomis@tyso.org.

Please bookmark this website, tyso.org. Of particular interest to members and parents is the Members tab and drop-downs, which contain needed forms, a rehearsal and performance schedule, a place to make payments, and of course the online handbook you are now reading.

TYS facebook pages to join

TYS has a public Facebook page and a closed TYS Current Members group.

All members are asked to join the closed TYS Current Members Facebook group. Parents of current members are also encouraged to join. Click Join Group in the upper-right corner of the TYS Current Members page. The TYS Facebook liaison will approve your request. Get in the habit of checking this page before rehearsals to find out about last minute changes.

Parents and members who visit the TYS public Facebook page are encouraged to like the page and share posts. Sharing on your timeline will help spread the word about TYS events. Each time you share a post, our publicity reach is increased by the number of friends you have. Contact Laura Peterson at Laura.Peterson@tyso.org to share pictures or other information on the TYS public Facebook page.

Tuition and fees policies

The membership fee for the 2018–19 Season will be $700 for Symphony Orchestra and Concert Orchestra non-percussion members and $500 for Preparatory Orchestra members and percussionists.

Membership fees may be paid in full or by installment.


All fees and tuition payments are non-refundable after August 1.

Payment Options

Payment may be made through the TYS Paypal link, regardless of whether or not you have a Paypal account. Payment may also be made by cash, check or money order, and mailed to the Tulsa Youth Symphony office at 1409 S. Elwood Ave., Tulsa, OK 74119. Please do not give any money to the conductors at rehearsals or concerts.

Delinquent Accounts

As noted on the payments page, accounts received after the grace period will be assessed a late charge. Accounts not in good standing are subject to a status review and could result in the member’s suspension from TYS programs.

Scholarship Information

A limited number of partial scholarships are available, after the initial membership payment of $250 has been paid.

Fundraising policies

Fundraising opportunities include a letter writing campaign, selling ads in the season program book, obtaining sponsors for the Play-a-thon and Mid-First Bank matching funds.

Ticket sales and promotions

TYS members are encouraged to help us secure audiences by letting friends and relatives know about our concerts. You are welcome, but not required, to buy a ticket bundle and give or sell tickets to friends and family. Discounted ticket bundles are available at 10 tickets for $85 or 5 tickets for $45. These bundled tickets are good for any concert during the season.

Audio and video recordings are available for purchase.

Publicity for TYS in your community

Families are encouraged to make contacts in their community with local newspapers, schools, PTAs, service groups, senior citizens, musical groups, clubs and churches to encourage their attendance at TYS concerts. TYS gladly offers group discounts and will assist you in this important task with flyers and publicity materials.

If you have specific ideas or questions about how to help TYS promote concerts in your community, please call the office.

Concert dress code

There is a reason symphony orchestras dress in a uniform manner and wear only black and white: The MUSIC is the purpose of the performance. Nothing should distract the listener from the music itself, and no individual should call attention to themselves by the manner of their dress or by accessorizing.

The concert is not an opportunity for individuals to display their personal style. You are part of a team. Cologne or perfume is not to be worn to rehearsals or concerts.

Symphony Orchestra
Women: Floor or ankle-length solid black skirts or dress pants, solid black blouse or dress shirt with long or ¾-length sleeves, black dress shoes (no sandals), black socks or hose. No bare midriffs, shoulders, deep necklines, capri pants, leggings, or black jeans.
Men: Tuxedo, white shirt, black bow tie, black socks and black dress shoes. If you do not own or cannot rent a tuxedo, wear a solid black suit, white shirt, black bow tie, black socks and black dress shoes.
Concert Orchestra
Women: Black ankle-length skirts or dress pants, white blouse with short or long sleeves, black shoes.
Men: Black slacks, plain white dress shirt, black bow tie, black shoes and socks.
Preparatory Orchestra
Women: white, long-sleeved shirt, khaki pants.
Men: white, long-sleeved shirt, khaki pants.

Concert etiquette

Please arrive early and be ready to begin at the listed call time. Parents and family members are NOT allowed backstage. Please wait for a moment of applause to enter or exit the performance hall — this includes late arrivals. We ask that all students and families stay for the ENTIRE performance — even if your specific ensemble’s portion of the concert is complete. Flash photography is prohibited during performance.

Care of Music

Each musician is provided a folder of music with his/her name, and is responsible for bringing it to every rehearsal and for returning it in good condition. Individuals will be charged for any music that must be replaced due to loss or damage.

Rehearsal time and location

Rehearsals for Symphony Orchestra and Concert Orchestra are held on Sundays from 2:00pm–4:30pm or 5:00pm at Timko Barton Hall, located at Oral Roberts University. Please park north of Timko Barton Hall, as shown on this map.

Preparatory Orchestra rehearsals are held on Sundays at Victory Christian School on Sundays from 2:30pm–4:30pm. Enter the building as shown here.

All orchestra members must be warming up at least 10 minutes before rehearsal is scheduled to begin. Percussion and harp students must arrive 20 minutes prior to the start of the rehearsal to set up equipment. The downbeat of the rehearsal is given at the time noted on the schedule. Students will be considered late if they are not in their seats when tuning begins. Remember to allow extra time for any potential travel delays (i.e. parking, traffic, etc).

Attendance policies

Membership in the Tulsa Youth Symphony is both a privilege and a responsibility. Acceptance of your placement in the Tulsa Youth Symphony is a season-long commitment (August–May). As one of the finest youth orchestra programs in the region, TYS maintains its standing through the commitment and dedication of its musicians. Consistent participation of each individual at weekly rehearsals results in successful performances. The attendance guidelines outlined here define each player’s individual responsibility in ensuring the collaborative success of the group. The policy protects the musical integrity of the orchestras, as well as the individual efforts and investments of each player involved. The policies below apply to all TYS program members unless otherwise noted.


The maximum number of absences allowed per semester is two.

Students are required to submit an Absence Notification form to report all absences. Anticipated absences should be reported at least two weeks in advance; last minute emergency absences also require completion of a Absence Notification form. You will need to provide a detailed reason for the absence on the Absence Notification form in all cases. Although verbal approval from either the conductor or any staff person is not sufficient, direct communication with the conductor at a rehearsal is recommended as a courtesy in addition to submitting the Absence Notification form. In case of a last minute emergency, members/parents should leave a voicemail message with or send an email to the appropriate conductor explaining your circumstance on the day of the absence, and should complete a Absence Notification form.

Excessive absences or failure to submit a complete Absence Notification form in a timely manner is considered a violation of the TYS attendance policy, and may result in a disciplinary action at the discretion of the artistic staff.

Late Arrival & Early Departure

Students must also submit a Absence Notification form in advance if they need to arrive late or leave a rehearsal or any scheduled TYS event early.

Excessive late arrival, early departures, or failure to submit a complete Conflict Sheet at least two weeks in advance is considered a violation of the TYS attendance policy, and may result in disciplinary action at the discretion of the artistic staff, which could include dismissal from a concert, seating demotion or suspension from all TYS programs the remainder of the season.

Probationary Procedures

Students may be placed on probationary status at the discretion of the artistic staff for violation of any of the attendance policies, lack of preparation at rehearsals or disruptive/disrespectful behavior toward conductor, fellow musicians or TYS staff. Probationary status may result in requiring a student to perform a probationary audition, be dismissed from a concert or be suspended from all TYS programs the remainder of the season.

Inclement weather policy

The safety of our students and families is of utmost importance to the Tulsa Youth Symphony. We understand that our students come from all over the state and ask that families use their best judgment when considering traveling to rehearsal based on their specific weather situation. In such cases, families should complete an online Absence Notification form which will automatically alert the conductors.

Families should ALWAYS check the Tulsa Youth Symphony Current Members Facebook group to confirm the status of rehearsals. No tuition refund will be given for cancelled rehearsals.

Due to the number of students involved in the Tulsa Youth Symphony, individual phone calls will not be made should rehearsals be cancelled. Staff will work to the best of their ability to email all families, and post cancellations on Facebook.

Student Advisory Board

The Student Advisory Board, made up of members of the Symphony and Concert Orchestras, meets each semester to: discuss experiences in the orchestras, meet with TYS board members, provide ideas to recruit new students, help plan social events for students and families, and provide crucial feedback to help our organization continue to grow. If you are interested in being part of the Student Advisory Board, please complete an application online in the forms section of our website.

Instrument liability

All TYS students/families are responsible for their instruments. Lost, stolen or damaged instruments (or instrument accessories) are not the responsibility of TYS. TYS strongly encourages all members to have their instruments insured. Should any damage occur to your instrument while you are participating in a TYS activity, please notify a TYS staff member immediately.

Instruments and equipment loaned to a student during their participation in our programs is the responsibility of the student. Any damage should be reported immediately to the conductor. Students and their family are responsible for any damage resulting from apparent neglect or misuse of the loaned instruments and/or equipment and will be assessed a fine for its repair.

Code of conduct

Members of Tulsa Youth Symphony perform locally and tour as a group. All participating musicians are representatives of the organization, and the behavior and dress of each musician reflects upon the entire group. It is essential to respect the rights and property of others. We count on all participants to use common sense in avoiding situations and behavior that would put themselves or anyone else at risk, cause problems for the group, or adversely affect the safety, performance and enjoyment of all. Students will treat all staff, volunteers, visitors and other students with respect. Electronic devices will be off and stored during rehearsals. The Tulsa Youth Symphony reserves the right for staff to confiscate electronic devices that are being used improperly and return them at the end of rehearsal. TYS strictly enforces a zero tolerance policy with regards to the use of drugs and alcohol, tobacco, any other illegal activities, and any form of harassment towards students and staff. Violation of any local, state or federal law will result in immediate removal from rehearsal, expulsion from the organization without refund and notification to the proper authorities.

Membership termination

Acceptance of your position in any TYS program is a year-long commitment. Reasons for any student’s decision to terminate their membership mid-year will be reviewed by the artistic staff on a case-by-case basis, and may result in ineligibility to re-audition for TYS the following year. TYS recognizes, however, that situations may arise where a student is no longer able to continue participation. Examples might be serious illness in the family, or relocation due to a parent’s job. In such cases, exceptions may be made to allow the student to re-audition. Dismissal from any public or private school will be viewed as a failure to participate in a school music program and will result in dismissal from the Tulsa Youth Symphony.

Parent Information

Back to TYS Fair

A fair is held early in fall each year. The fair provides students and parents with important scheduling details, policy information, and ways to get involved in special projects. The fair also provides an opportunity for parents and students to get to know each other, exchange ideas and discuss carpooling arrangements in a casual setting.

Parent Support & Encouragement

In addition to providing the highest quality musical experiences, Tulsa Youth Symphony strives to teach students about professionalism, responsibility, and personal integrity. TYS asks our parents to help their children fulfill their responsibilities to TYS programs by encouraging 100 percent attendance, prompt arrival at rehearsals and concerts, private lessons on their instrument and at-home practice and preparation.

Parent Participation

Tulsa Youth Symphony would not be the organization that it is today without the tremendous support it receives from parents. Our parents provide service in a variety of areas, including help with concert receptions, publicity mailings, bringing cookies to rehearsals, taking photos at events and helping with the annual Play-A-thon. Parents are asked to volunteer at least once each semester.

Parent Volunteer Coordinators

Parents may serve as coordinators of various volunteer projects. Parent coordinators are members of the parent advisory board and may attend TYS Board meetings in a non-voting capacity to share ideas and concerns. Parent coordinators also receive four free tickets to each formal concert. Please contact Sue Loomis at Sue.Loomis@tyso.org for more information.

Parent Giving

Tuition covers approximately 30 percent of the actual cost to participate in TYS. TYS is able to keep tuition costs low and provide financial assistance because of the generosity of our supporters. You can help by connecting TYS with local foundations and corporations, or by checking with your company to see if they will match your gifts. We encourage all families to consider making an annual financial contribution in an amount with which they are comfortable.


Due to the large number of children involved in our programs, we request your help in monitoring student activities whenever you are present at a rehearsal or other event under the auspices of TYS. Please also notify a TYS staff person if you become aware of any students violating any of the behavioral codes as defined in the handbook. We appreciate your help with these matters.

Contact Information

Please refer to our contact page for a complete list of conductor and staff contact information. If you would like to stop by the office, please call ahead so we can be certain someone is available to meet you. If you get voicemail, please be sure to leave a message so we can return your call as soon as possible. Email is always the quickest way to contact our staff.