Festival Strings

The Hershey Symphony Festival Strings is an 80-member string orchestra comprised of middle school students living in the greater Harrisburg/Hershey areas.  The ensemble gathers for a few rehearsals, culminating with a concert performance.

Membership in the orchestra is open to all area string players in grades six through nine upon the recommendation of school or private music teachers.  All students are accepted without audition.  All students must be members of their school orchestra, although Festival Strings also services many students in home school, or schools without string programs.  High school students who are graduates of the program may return to serve as rehearsal assistants, gaining valuable mentoring experience.

Since the orchestra’s inception, Festival Strings has been selected through audition to perform four times for the Pennsylvania Music Educators Conference and four times for the Eastern Division Music Educators National Conference.  In 2004, Festival Strings made their first appearance at the MENC National Conference in Minneapolis, and performed again for them in April of 2006 in Salt Lake City.  Festival Strings performed for the prestigious Midwest Clinic in Chicago in December of 2006.  In the spring of 2008 the orchestra was in Albuquerque for the American String Teachers Association national convention.  The orchestra has also performed for the MENC Eastern Division, and for the state Pennsylvania Music Educators Association.   In the Spring of 2017, the youth orchestra made its debut at Lincoln Center, New York.

Under the direction of Dr. Sandra Dackow since its formation, Festival Strings is recognized for setting a national standard for performance excellence and is unique in its scope and offerings.

FESTIVAL STRINGS 2019 is waiting for you! Please join us for a season full of collaboration with the Hershey Symphony.  You will be on stage with the orchestra in the famous Hershey Theatre on Friday, October 26th, so let’s get going!  Festival Strings is designed for middle school string players from the greater Harrisburg and Hershey areas. Membership is open to any student in grades 6-9, without audition, upon the recommendation of the school orchestra director, and to those in cyber and home school programs. Festival Strings will be rehearsing with both Dr. Sandra Dackow, Music Director of the Hershey Symphony, and Ms. Jennifer Meckler, Orchestra Director at West Morris High School in New Jersey.

Our projected rehearsal dates and locations include:

Saturday September 29, 2018 11:00am-3:00pm rehearsal Palm Lutheran Church, Palmyra
Saturday October 20, 2018 11:00am-3:00pm rehearsal Hershey Middle School
Thursday October 25, 2018 5:00-7:30pm rehearsal Hershey Theatre
Friday October 26, 2018 8pm concert Hershey Theatre
Saturday November 10, 2018 10:00am-3:00pm auditions Hershey Middle School
Saturday January 26, 2019 11:00am-3:00pm rehearsal Eagle View Middle School, Cumberland Valley, Mechanicsburg
Sunday January 27, 2019 1:00-2:30pm rehearsal Eagle View Middle School, Cumberland Valley, Mechanicsburg
Sunday January 27, 2019 3:00pm concert Eagle View Middle School, Cumberland Valley, Mechanicsburg
Thursday April 11, 2019 5:00-7:30pm rehearsal Hershey Theatre
Friday April 12, 2019 8:00pm concert Hershey Theatre


All students should bring a music stand with your name on it, to every rehearsal. Cellos should also bring an end pin anchor.
Concert dress is a white blouse/shirt, with black pants/slacks/skirt, and black shoes and socks.
Students will audition for chairs within their sections on Saturday morning, November 10.

The enrollment deadline is September 29th. To complete your enrollment, fill out this application, obtain the signature of your school orchestra director, and include a check for the enrollment fee of $200.00, payable to Hershey Symphony. If you joined us for the event in August, then the amount due is $160.

Mail the application form and the enrollment fee to:
Mrs. Lynn Sten, Hershey Festival Strings
293 Founders Way
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050.

Questions may be directed to her at 717-576-3297 or by emailing: stenlynn66@gmail.com