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Middle Level Orchestra Festival

General Information - Tier 1
The Middle Level Orchestra Festival is open to school age student orchestras composed exclusively of students in grades 6 through 9. MNSOTA is pleased to offer three sites for Tier 1. 
The application deadline for all sites is Friday, December 7, 2018.

Download the the rules and application forms in PDF below.

Dates & Locations for 2018-2019
Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - Fergus Falls - map
Wednesday, February 27, 2019 - Stillwater Area High School - map
Wednesday, March 6,  2019 - Faribault Middle School - map

Festival Reminders for 2018-2019
• Three sites
• Orchestras with 9th grade students can perform at any site for Tier 2 consideration.
• Additional $100 participation fee for groups who advance to Tier 2 at Orchestra Hall
• Ticket fee for the Tier 2 concert will be announced at the conclusion of the Tier 1 festivals.
• Rating forms, judges' recordings (2) and performance recordings (1) will be given to directors at the conclusion of their clinic.  Judges' and performance recordings may be sent electronically at the conclusion of the festival day.
• All participants MUST perform from legally acquired copies of the music, in compliance with the Copyright Law. 

Policy: "Pop tunes and novelty pieces will not be considered appropriate literature." Download the document below for a definition and discussion of "novelty piece."

Tier 2 Information
Monday, March 25, 2019 at Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis - map

All orchestras that qualify are eligible to participate in Tier 2. In order to qualify for Tier 2, orchestras must: apply for Tier 2 consideration; satisfy the grade requirements; and receive an overall "Superior with Distinction" rating from both judges at Tier 1.

The orchestras selected for the Tier 2 honor will:
• spend 80 minutes during the day on March 25 at Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis
• work with outstanding performer coaches
• perform selections from Tier 1 in a concert
• receive an ensemble trophy
• make memories that will inspire their musical growth for years to come
• be able to purchase CDs through their director

MNSOTA congratulations all orchestras that performed at the three Tier 1 festivals this past year.  We are thrilled that 44 orchestras participated in 2018! 

Orchestras that received the "Superior with Distinction" rating from both judges had the opportunity to participate in  daytime sectionals with Minnesota Orchestra coaches, and an on-stage rehearsal, both culminating in an evening concert at Orchestra Hall on Monday, April 2, 2018.  These orchestras are:

If you have questions, contact:  Festival Coordinator Becky Plachy at

Download documents below for:
  • Preparation Pointers suggested by Brian Cole so your ensemble knows what to expect at Tier 1
  • "Orch Festival draft 1" document posted below has information missing, including details about Tier 2.  Updated information is correct on this website.  The updated/corrected Festival Document will be uploaded by the end of September.
Faith Farr,
Oct 3, 2014, 9:44 AM
Faith Farr,
Feb 15, 2014, 8:07 AM
Faith Farr,
Sep 23, 2018, 7:40 PM