• Class Messenger has been PERMANENTLY DISABLED!  You may recall that at our December concert I had asked everyone to make the switch to REMIND.COM. and published the code in the programs..  3kcfb

    There is an Honors Orchestra/Band concert this Wednesday at the Middle School.  Report time is 6:30.   At the Middle School.  Concert dress is white tops/black bottoms.  At the Middle School.  In Wallkill.   John G. Borden.

  • Important ORCHESTRA dates….(not band) ….. These are instruments with bows and 4 strings. 

    I am on a mission to get adults as well as children to refer to the group correctly. J  Calling ORCHESTRA, band, is like calling SWIMMING, football.   Reversing them causes an awful lot of confusion at concert time.    ;-)

    These are the ORCHESTRAL groups.

    School Orchestra- Each building (Plattekill, Leptondale, and Ostrander) has its own, from 4-6 grade. 

    Wallkill Wire Choir—the district orchestra.  It is made up of every string player, from 4-6 grade, from  all 3 elementary buildings.  Together.   One humongous group.

    Sunrise Strings—Honors orchestra.  This is the group that meets on Tuesday mornings before school.  Students in Honors orchestra had to play at the NYSSMA festival during the preceding spring, and must meet sight-reading criteria.

    Chamber Orchestra- a tiny subset of the school orchestra.  Students MUST be able demonstrate above average note-reading fluency and be working  at @ a NYSSMA level III.

    JANUARY 25, 2017-Monday-HONORS BAND/ORCH

    Middle School, 6:30 

    Dress:  Black and white


    MC Miller Middle School

    Students were auditioned and selected.

    Dress: Black and white


    Middle School, 6:30

    Dress:  Black and white

    MAY 11, 2017—District Elementary Strings concert

    High school  6:15  

    Dress Theme TBA


    6 Flags evaluation festival.  More TBA.

    MAY 18, 2017—most important for Honors orchestra!!!!


    Wallkill High School.   8 AM  

    Dress: BLACK AND WHITE!!!! No personalizations!


  • Friday, May 12 2017 leaving Plattekill Elementary School parking lot @(TO BE ANNOUNCED) =Details being worked out... A list of students actually on the trip will be forwarded to the offices. Those who are not participating are expected to GO TO SCHOOL! ;-) Before it's asked.....Chaperones are expected to travel with and stay with the entire group during the trip. Therefore chaperones do not take personal cars, meet us there or leave early. That way, all of our children remain safe, well supervised, and together. Having relatives meet students at the park is also a no-no. In these times, we cannot allow strangers (to the teacher) to "hang out" with groups of minors or take students away from their assigned groups. Some honors orchestrians have still not brought in their Six Flags deposit of $20. SO! This message can be copied onto a regular piece of paper and returned. My child _____________________________________ will be participating in the comepetition trip on May 6th. I would like_______ would not like for them to participate in fundraisers. (Parents, if you hate those fundraisers , it's perfectly okay to just pay the trip outright.

How to Get Into Honors Orchestra

  • Honors orchestra is a subset of the district "Wallkill Wire Choir." The purpose is to play more challenging music and is for students who are serious about practice and success. Many WANT to be in Honors because of the perks -like the end of the year competition trip, but not all have the desire to work for the prize and the motivation to excel for personal pride. As an ensemble they play in 2-3 additional concerts per year, perform for an evaluation rating at a "NYSSMA majors" festival, and compete against other schools in the East at a "Music in the Parks Festival." There are several criteria in order to be considered. Sixth graders are given preference, but merely being in 6th grade does not insure acceptance. If numbers warrant the addition of 5th graders, several may be accepted, based on ability and instrumentation. The student must know 3 scales, played at a moderate speed, with one quarter note per pitch. They must be able to read ALL of the 16 notes in 1st position. (Fingers and pitches, without having to write in "cheating notation." If they actually practiced the material in the methods book, this is a snap.) Cellos should be familiar with 2nd finger and the difference between 2 and 3. Violins and violas should be able to accurately play a low 2nd finger. Some students knowingly made the decision to not be eligible by not performing a NYSSMA solo. I understand that sometimes there may be extenuating circumstances with the date, but those who chose not to go because they "didn't want to" or "were afraid" are not intrinsically ready for honors orchestra. Students will be given a level 2 audition piece to work on over the summer, ensuring that the instrument does not stay in the case for 2 months, causing them to lose proficiency. NYSSMA scores: Those who performed a level 1 solo must score a 25 or above. Those who performed a level 2 solo must score a 21 or above. Basses must achieve a score of 20. Students who have already been members of the Honors orchestra are tentatively included in the next year, however they must maintain forward momentum, successfully read notation, and exhibit proper POSTURE. (Slouching and leaning creates poor intonation, and contributes to the audience opinion of the entire group. It's not funny, and not going to be accepted just because it's "more comfortable" or because they think they have worn down the teacher. ;-) At any time during the year, if a students performance slips below standard and has received warnings, they may be asked to leave. From time to time a situation may arise and one of these criteria may not be met, as in the case of new students, or a questionable low score at NYSSMA. It is then the prerogative of the instructor to include that player.


  • Please click on the PDF for everything you need to know about NYSSMA. Please feel free to print and send it in before your musician brings it home in paper form. This is an ASSIGNMENT. It must be returned, even if someone says they don't want to go. The purpose is to make sure that all parents have read about the opportunity. (It should not be the student's choice alone.)