Festival Strings


Download Application Here


We’re on! Hershey Symphony Festival Strings returns this fall, with the opportunity for middle school strings in the greater Hershey and Harrisburg areas to work with Dr. Sandra Dackow, Music Director of the Hershey Symphony. Set your sights on being a part of this enriching and musically rewarding experience. We have an intensive November schedule, in Finestra Hall at our host school, Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg. Festival Strings participants will then be returning next April to perform Verdi’s Anvil Chorus with the members of the Hershey Symphony Orchestra on stage at the historic Hershey Theatre.

Festival Strings is open to public, home school and cyber school string students, without audition, who are in grades 6-9, entering their third year of playing, and are recommended by their orchestra director. Grade 2/3 music will be performed, meaning that players should be reading low 2 and low 1, slurs, sixteenth notes and dotted rhythms. Third position will be needed for first violin and bass. The enrollment fee is $125.00, and the application deadline is October 3rd.

Our Festival Strings schedule includes the following dates:
Saturday, October 29 Rehearsal 11am-4pm Bishop McDevitt HS, Harrisburg (sack lunch)
Friday, November 18 Auditions 4pm-6pm Bishop McDevitt HS (sack supper)
Friday, November 18 Rehearsal 7pm-9pm Bishop McDevitt HS
Saturday, November 19 Rehearsal 11am-4pm Bishop McDevitt HS (sack lunch)
Sunday, November 20 Rehearsal 12:30-2:30pm Bishop McDevitt HS
Sunday, November 20 Concert 3:00-4:30pm Bishop McDevitt HS, Finestra Hall
Thursday, April 27 Rehearsal 4:30-7:30pm Hershey Theatre (pizza supper provided)
on stage rehearsal with the Hershey Symphony Orchestra, Anvil Chorus only
Friday, April 28 Concert 8:00-10:00pm, * Hershey Theatre
*Reduced price tickets for your immediate family will be available from Festival Strings


Interested high school string students in grades 10-12, are encouraged to enroll as Rehearsal Assistants, providing us with their musical leadership and assisting with tuning. High school students considering a career in music teaching will benefit greatly from this hands on opportunity. Rehearsal Assistants do not need to pay an enrollment fee.

The Hershey Symphony Orchestra is committed to providing a safe rehearsal environment for participants, and in these unprecedented times will make decisions based on guidelines set forth by the CDC. The Board of the Hershey Symphony Orchestra has determined that all players, including students, must be vaccinated. Therefore, all participants must include proof of Covid vaccination with their enrollment form. Other safety protocols may include asking students to use their own stand, have their temperature taken before rehearsal, use hand sanitizer, maintain social distancing, and wear masks at all times. All adults on site will need to wear a mask as well. Festival Strings staff members are vaccinated. This policy is subject to continued evaluation and change. And while your attendance is required at all rehearsals, you must stay home if you are sick, particularly with a fever.

Auditions for seating within your section of Festival Strings will be held on Friday, November 18th. Passages from our Festival Strings repertoire will be selected from the music mailed to you in October, and that afternoon you will audition before two area teachers. Seating will be announced after supper on Friday night. Auditions are a part of a musicians life, so go for it. The more you practice, listen, and become familiar with the repertoire that we will perform, the greater your opportunity will be for a leadership chair. Aim high! Rehearsals are so much more efficient when everyone in the orchestra is prepared.

Once we receive your application, application fee, and copy of Covid vaccine card, you will be assigned to the appropriate section in Hershey Symphony Festival Strings. The music and Student Handbook will be mailed out to you by October 10th. You will also receive an email with listening links so that you can hear what you are working on. Listen and practice every day! Our first rehearsal is on Saturday, October 29, and you must have all the music learned by then.

Students and parents, we would appreciate your help promoting Festival Strings now. If you receive this email, and your child is not able to participate in our program, please forward this information to his/her teacher, and other student musicians your child may know. Hershey Symphony Festival Strings requires a minimum of 50 student musicians with balanced instrumentation to be successful. We always appreciate those who play viola, cello and bass, as they are essential to our orchestral experience. You may email Mrs. Sten at: stenlynn66@gmail.com with any updated contact information. We would be very grateful if you would pay it forward!