The official youth symphony of West Virginia


Auditions are held in the Horace Mann Middle School band room, located at 4300 MacCorkle Avenue SE, Charleston, WV 25304, entrance from Noyes Ave.

New student auditions will begin at 4:00PM on Tuesday, December 13, 2023. You may schedule your audition by completing an Audition Form (New Audition Form coming soon!).

Carefully read through all audition requirements. Prepare audition materials applicable to the instrument you play and the ensemble for which you will audition. When you are ready to schedule your audition, you may submit an Audition Form (New Audition Form coming soon!). Direct all inquiries to the General Manager by emailing

Audition requirements

All music to be used for auditions is currently available here to students and to private music teachers at any time. Additional requirements for each WVYS ensemble and instrument is available below.

Strings – All new students wishing to audition will play for all three conductors on the published audition date(s). Auditions will be held in the spring and fall for the upcoming season. Conductors will determine which WVYS ensemble is appropriate for each student. At the discretion of the conductors and as the need arises, new students may be invited to audition at other times of the year.

Move-Up Auditions – A standard repertoire of move-up music has been established and is available below. Students wishing to move up to Youth Strings or Youth Orchestra may only audition on the published audition date unless invited to do otherwise. All students are eligible to audition to move up to the next group. Students will be evaluated by the appropriate conductors.

Seating Auditions – Seating auditions will be conducted at least one time per year and will determine where each musician sits within their ensemble. Students may be re-seated at the start of the second semester. If the conductor does not choose to re-seat his students at this time, students may use our challenge procedure to try to advance. At the conductors’ preference, seating auditions may be taped, held behind a screen or in front of the conductor(s). Taped auditions may be conducted by someone other than the conductor and will be evaluated by the appropriate conductor. The conductor will judge the live auditions. Make-up auditions are at the discretion of the conductors and if allowed must take place prior to the next regular rehearsal. Final seating decisions are at the discretion of the conductor.

Brass and Woodwinds – All current brass and woodwind players will audition in the spring on the published date. Positions and seating for the next season will be based on this audition; adjustments may be made at any time at the discretion of the conductor. Please remember that participation in the current year does not guarantee a position the following season. New brass and woodwind players may also audition in the spring, fall or at the convenience of the conductor and as the need arises for a particular instrument.

Challenge procedure

Purpose: Challenges are in place to provide students with opportunities for advanced seating within their ensemble. The expectation is to foster healthy competition among players in the group. Standards of performance are elevated when students must maintain their “chair”.


  1. First stands of sections are set for the semester. Challenges may occur within the first stand between the principal and assistant principal. All others may challenge up to third chair. In cases of less than four players in a section, this does not apply. In the case of first and second violin sections, the third chair second violin may challenge the last chair first violin.
  2. The student wishing to challenge must ask the conductor’s permission. The conductor will choose the challenge music with both students present. They will determine a mutually agreeable time for the challenge.
  3. The same student may not be challenged more than once in a single semester. This is to avoid an unnecessary strain on the same student.
  4. The conductor will listen to both players. The challenger must play first. A decision will be made that day and students will be notified.
  5. In order to maintain continuity in an ensemble, challenges may not happen within two weeks of a concert.
  6. All involved should remember that chair placement is only one aspect of the total orchestra experience. Both winner and loser of a challenge should maintain a cordial and sportsmanlike attitude after the result. Remember—we are a team!