The Dow High Orchestra program is led by Amanda Thoms.
The concert orchestra is the entry-level ensemble at Dow High School. It is a 40+ member string orchestra that works on playing more advanced repertoire and developing and expanding skills they have covered in the past. As members of the concert orchestra, students rehearse for one hour a day. They are also able to participate in extra-curricular events such as MSBOA’s Solo and Ensemble Festival.
The symphony orchestra is the advanced ensemble at Dow High School. Students must pass a rigorous audition to be eligible for this ensemble. This class meets for a hour every day and is a string orchestra 60% of the time. However, twice a week the symphonic band sends volunteer students to participate in orchestra, and those students create the full symphony orchestra. Students are expected to have a high proficiency on their instruments. The music played in this ensemble often includes original transcriptions rather than arrangements. This ensemble performs 7 – 8 times over the coarse of the year. These students also often have the opportunity to work with college professors in sectionals. They have worked with professors from Alma College, Central Michigan University, and Grand Valley State University.
In addition to all of these in-class activities, students can participate in extra events. These events include, but are not limited to District Solo and Ensemble, State Solo and Ensemble, Band and Orchestra Festival, All-State Honors Orchestra, Michigan Youth Arts Festival Honors Orchestra, Mid-Michigan Band and Orchestra Day, as well as numerous collegiate honors orchestras and chamber music festivals.
The honors orchestra is the most advanced string ensemble at Dow High School. Students must pass a rigorous audition to be eligible for this ensemble. All honors orchestra members are also members of the symphony orchestra. This chamber orchestra rehearses for two hours after school on Mondays. Students practice on their own to be ready for these limited rehearsals. Students in the honors orchestra play professional -level music. They perform approximately 15 times over the course of the year. This ensemble often represents Midland Public Schools in the community, performing at extra events for Northwood University, Creative 360, and the Gerstacker Awards.