Academy String Orchestra

The Academy String Orchestra (ASTRO) is for students in grades 5-8 who wish to begin to perform orchestral music. Emphases include the development of reading and ensemble skills. ASTRO's schedule includes weekly rehearsals (two 10-week semesters) and a performance in November and March. ASTRO is the preparatory orchestra for the Fox Valley Symphony Youth Orchestra program; administrators and teacher-conductors in each organization work together to ensure the highest quality opportunities for students in the Fox Valley region.

As a general rule, students spend a minimum of two years in ASTRO before moving to the Fox Valley Symphony's Philharmonia Orchestra.  This is particularly true for students whose schools teach strings in small group lesson formats rather than in full orchestral settings, and for students in grades 5 or 6.

Students registered for Academy ensembles are also expected to participate in a curricular (during the school day, for credit) performing musical ensemble when available; ASTRO should not substitute for curricular music programs.


ASTRO auditions are held each spring for the following academic year. Audition requests for the 2019-20 season are closed. Please fill out our interest form to receive audition information next spring.

Click here to view audition requirements


Current ASTRO students who wish to register for the 2019-20 season of ASTRO: please click the button below to fill out the registration form.

2019-20 Registration Form


  • 2019-20 Rehearsal Changes
    • ASTRO rehearsals will take place at a different time and day next year: rehearsals are moving from Tuesdays to Sunday afternoons (3:15-4:30 p.m.).
      • This change will align ASTRO rehearsals with the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra schedule that students will follow in all subsequent orchestras. This also allows students to participate both in ASTRO and in sporting activities that are held on Tuesdays after school.


  • Students should bring their folder and a pencil to all rehearsals.
  • All folders and music are the property of the Lawrence Academy of Music and should be returned at the end of each semester or when the student leaves the ensemble.
  • Students new to the program will receive a tote bag that becomes theirs. 
  • Additional or replacement bags can be purchased through the Academy at the cost of $8 plus tax.
  • Violinists, please have an extra E string in your case.
  • Cellists/bassists, please have a rock stop.

Concert Attire

  • Students should wear a white shirt, elbow-length or longer with black or dark bottoms; no jeans or tennis shoes.
  • If a student wishes to wear a skirt, the skirt should be knee length or longer when seated and non-patterned.
  • Students may also wear ties.

Electronics Policy

Cell phones, iPods, electronic readers, and other electronic devices are strictly prohibited during ensemble rehearsals and back stage during concerts.   If a family emergency takes place during a rehearsal or concert, please contact the ensemble manager.

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