Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra Festival Strings

Festival Strings is an educational outreach program sponsored by the Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra, and includes young musicians from over 30 towns in northern New Jersey. The group comes together for five intense rehearsals and a wonderful concert in Ridgewood each winter. Todd Van Beveren has conducted the Festival Strings Orchestra since 2009.

Registration for Festival Strings 2021 Coming Soon…

Who Can Participate? – Membership in the orchestra is open to all string players in grades six through eight upon the recommendation of their school or private study music teachers; all students are accepted without audition. Although most students who participate are members of their school orchestra, the activity also serves many students from communities without school string programs. Abilities on their instruments must include a command of first position, with extensions and accidentals, and facility in the higher positions for more advanced sections of the orchestra. High school alumni of the program often return to serve as rehearsal assistants to help with tuning and placement adjudication.

How to Register – Festival Strings 2020 registration can be completed on line. When you click on the registration link, you will be able to complete the application. Once you complete the online form, you will receive a confirmation email that you need to print and return with the required signatures. The signatures are due by December 20, 2019. If you would like paper forms, please email info@RSOfestivalstring.org and we will be glad to send one. Also, if you have any problems with the online registration or do not get a confirm, please contact us at info@RSOfestivalstrings.org

Cost – The application fee of $80 is non-refundable unless the student is not accepted into the orchestra. The fee is payable when the confirmation with signatures is returned and need based scholarships are available. After the December deadline, the fee will increase to $100.

Questions: email info@rsofestivalstrings.org

About RSO Festival Strings

The Festival Strings, composed of middle school students in the North Jersey area, was originally organized in the late 1980s under the auspices of the New Jersey units of the National School Orchestra Association and the American String Teachers Association, performing at several conventions of these associations. For several years they have been sponsored entirely by the Ridgewood Symphony. All students must be in grades six through nine and must be members of their school orchestras. Students from school districts without string programs especially appreciate the Festival Strings opportunity. No audition is required, and scholarships are available when necessary to cover the modest costs of the program. “Graduates” of the program often return as rehearsal assistants to help with tuning and placement adjudication, and many area teachers and RSO musicians volunteer their time to this activity.

The Ridgewood Symphony and the Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra Festival Strings presented a joint program on March 8, 1997 at the Orrie DeNooyer Auditorium (Bergen Technical High School). Each orchestra played separately, and they then came together for the final portion. The Festival Strings played the Entrance of the Guests from “Tannhauser,” a movement of Mahler’s First Symphony “The Titan.” The “Russian Easter Overture” and pieces by Mozart and Haydn completed the program. All music was arranged for strings by Dr. Dackow so that all voices heard in the composer’s scoring could be heard in the strings.

Later, the Ridgewood Symphony and Festival Strings joined to play Grainger’s “Mock Morris,” Bach’s “Sinfonia in D,” Overture to “Rienzi” by Wagner, Dance of The Tumblers from “The Snow Maiden,” and Overture to “Orpheus in the Underworld” by Jacques Offenbach, all arranged by Dr. Dackow. The young players and orchestra members were delighted to share the stage.