The Academy String Orchestra (ASTRO) is for students in grades 5-8 who demonstrate proficiency on their stringed instrument and are interested in preparing and performing orchestral music. Emphases include the development of reading and beginning ensemble skills. ASTRO is the first step in the Fox Valley Youth Orchestra's curriculum; orchestras for more advanced students are available through the Fox Valley Symphony.
ASTRO's schedule includes weekly rehearsals (two 10-week semesters) and two performances a year. Auditions are held each spring for the following academic year. 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.
Membership in Academy instrumental ensembles is meant to augment, not replace, school bands or orchestras. Therefore, we expect all Academy ensemble members to be enrolled in a curricular performance ensemble when one is available.