ASTRO is performing on the Chapel stage as the teacher-conductor conducts in front of the ensemble.

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.

Auditions and Registration

ASTRO auditions are held each spring for the following academic year. Current ASTRO students do not need to audition again to participate in ASTRO for the upcoming 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

Tuition assistance is available to families who demonstrate financial need.


  • New 2019-20 rehearsal date and location
    • ASTRO rehearsals have been moved to Tuesday evenings to Sundays, 3:15-4:30 p.m. and will take place the Lawrence Conservatory of Music, Shattuck Hall 153. This change aligns ASTRO rehearsals with the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra schedule that students will follow in all subsequent orchestras and also allows students to participate in school activities during the week.


  • September 15, 2019 - No Rehearsal

2019-20 Calendar

Click the button below to view a draft of the 2019-20 ASTRO calendar. Please note that the calendar will be updated in the fall.

2019-20 Calendar

Policies and Materials

Registration in an Academy program indicates your understanding and acceptance of our guidelines. In addition to the Academy guidelines, please click through the subjects below to read about ASTRO-specific policies and required materials.

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.
Orchestra Materials
  • 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.

A smiling student plays pizzicato on her string instrumentthree cello students play pizzicato during the ASTRO concertTwo students leaning up against their string basses, posing and smiling for the camera