Blues Alley Youth Orchestra

All Youth Orchestra participants are required to complete and submit the Emergency Contact and Insurance Waiver forms!! (PDF)

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Youth Orchestra Auditions

The annual audition/orientation of the Blues Alley Youth Orchestra is scheduled to occur on Sunday, September 7th from 1pm-4pm at Grace Episcopal Church in Georgetown. Grace Church is our principal ecumenical partner and is physically located at 1041 Wisconsin Avenue, NW or one block south of the Blues Alley Jazz nightclub. Auditions are for newcomers only but the orientation is mandatory for all and parents are encouraged to attend. The orientation will be conducted by our Executive Director Harry Schnipper at 3:00 pm and will last approximately 30 minutes. The purpose of the orientation is to collect valuable contact information, disseminate upcoming performance dates and answer any questions that prospective student participants may have about the orchestra. Prospects may also submit a preliminary audition recording to our Music Director Michael Bowie as follows: Prior emergency contact and insurance waiver information can be accessed on-line prior to the September 9th date in the upper right hand corner of this webpage.

The Orchestra is comprised of accomplished student musicians ranging in age from 14-17 years old with their mission to preserve and promote the big band jazz genre. Now in its 27th year the Orchestra has performed at such mainstay venues as The John F. Kennedy Center, The Smithsonian Institution, Voice of America, Carter Barron Amphitheater, Wolf Trap Farm Park, Blues Alley and elsewhere.

The Orchestra was founded in 1985 along with its parent Blues Alley Jazz Society and performs varied musical selections by such successful jazz composers as Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and others. The Orchestra typically contains a full accompaniment of brass, strings and percussion and attracts student musicians from Frederick to Fredericksburg. Students also take part in both civic and educational trainings as they perform in senior centers, at community functions and inside houses of worship.

Often performers traveling through Washington, DC have volunteered in workshops and master classes while performing simultaneously at the club. Guest artists have included Quincy Jones, McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter, Jon Faddis, Terrence Blanchard and more. An orientation occurs each second Sunday in September with a full rehearsal and performance schedule from September through April and through July until August. The school calendar includes weekly and monthly rehearsal and performance opportunities. To learn more or to participate or perform with this truly unique Washington musical experience please contact Mr. Bowie at Many musical opportunities may await you.