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Middle Level Regional Festival


Have any questions or comments for this event? Contact Dan Mollick.

Timeline, Dates, Locations

November 15 - Registration window closes

December 15 - Deadline to pay registration fee

Late January - Final schedules posted

Regional Festivals

Monday, March 4 - Minnetonka High School

Tuesday, March  5 - College of St. Benedict

Wednesday, March 27 - Irondale High School

State Festival Honors Concert

April 15 - MNSOTA Middle Level State Honors Concert at Orchestra Hall

Regional Festival Fee

$200.00 for each performing group. You will receive an invoice after the application window closes.

State Festival Honors Concert Fee

There will be an additional $120.00 fee for all groups that qualify for this performance.

Details on how to pay this fee will be shared after Regional Festival has concluded.

Choose your Level of Participation

It is your choice how you would like to have your students experience and participate in the Middle Level Festival! Whatever level you choose, your students will come away with an experience that will both enhance and enrich their music education. All orchestras who participate in Regional Festival will receive:


A digital recording of your performance.

Written comments from two judges.

Recorded play-by-play comments from both judges to share with your students.

A 25-minute clinic with an accomplished music educator.

Time to listen to at least two other school orchestras perform.

Commemorative certificate of participation.

We encourage you to select the level of participation that is best for your ensemble. It is recommended that you consider the ages of your ensemble members, playing level, and personality of your ensemble. Do they have experience playing at a festival? Are they motivated by competition or does competition make them uneasy? You know what is best for your students to give them the best experience! Here are the participation levels:

Comments Only

You will receive all of the festival benefits listed above. Choose this option if you want the educational experience for your students without the pressure of a rating or competition. This is a non-competitive level of participation.

Comments + Rating

All of the above plus a score from the judges. Original scores/parts are required for this level of participation. Choose this level if receiving a score would benefit your ensemble. This is a non-competitive level of participation.

Comments + Rating + Consideration for the Middle Level State Honors Concert

All of the above plus a score from the judges and consideration for participation in the Festival State Honors Concert at Orchestra Hall. Original scores/parts are required for this level of participation and additional eligibility requirements must be met (see details below). An additional $120 registration fee applies if you qualify for the State Honors Concert. Choose this level for a competitive experience for your students.​


The orchestras selected for the State Honors Concert will: 

Participate in 35-minute sectionals with professional musicians.

Rehearse on stage at Orchestra Hall during daytime hours.

Perform selections from Regional Festival in an evening concert.

Receive an ensemble trophy.

ASTA/MNSOTA Membership

The conductor of the orchestra must be a member of ASTA/MNSOTA. If your membership has expired, contact to renew and send verification of membership to MNSOTA Member Coordinator. Your membership status will be verified before your application can be processed.

​Comments Only or Comments + Rating

Both string orchestra and full orchestras are eligible to participate.

Your orchestra must have at least some members in grades 6-9.

Combinations of Grades 5 & 6 or Grades 9 & 10 are eligible to participate.

Adults may provide accompaniment only.

Rating + Consideration for Middle Level State Honors Concert at Orchestra Hall
  • In order to qualify for the MNSOTA State Middle Level Festival Honors Concert, orchestras must:

    • Apply for consideration when submitting registration for Regional Festival.

    • Meet grade level eligibility requirements (see below)

    • Receive an overall Superior with Distinction rating from both judges at Regional Festival.

  • All of the students in the performing group should be in grades 6–9.

  • Students may participate in only one ensemble for this level of participation.

  • All performers must be registered student members of their ensemble.

  • All students who perform must have performed at Regional Festival. (Exceptions will be made for students who were absent from Regional Festival due to illness.) Any other exceptions to your roster must be cleared with the Festival Coordinator.

Performance Requirements
  • Prepare a minimum of three pieces.

  • Selections are to be of contrasting styles. There may be two movements from the same work.

  • Performance time should not exceed more than 20 minutes.

  • Pop tunes and novelty pieces will not be considered appropriate literature.

  • Examples of pieces performed for the past three years are included to help you gauge the repertoire other directors are selecting. This is intended as a guide only and is not a required repertoire list for the Festival.

Preparation of Scores and Materials
  • Each orchestra must supply the Festival with three (3) original scores for each piece. Each score must have measures numbered.

  • Before arriving at the Festival, prepare three manila envelopes and label on the outside:

    • School and Orchestra name

    • Director name

    • Your performance time

    • Envelope designation (Judge or Clinician)

  • Your three separate envelopes will be designated for the individuals below. Place materials (scores and forms) inside each envelope:

  • Upon arrival at the Festival, give these three envelopes to the MNSOTA Board Liaison.

  • Before departing the Festival, pick up your three envelopes. Your completed comment/rating sheets will be in each envelope. Performance and Judge Comment Recordings will be delivered digitally.

  • Important: Copied scores will be accepted only if accompanied by written permission of the copyright owner. Letters representing placed orders are not acceptable. In the event that scores do not arrive, ensembles will perform for comments only.

General Information 

Orchestras will be registered for the festival on a first come, first served basis. Information with directions, schedule, and other details will be available on the MNSOTA website when the schedule is finalized.

We reserve the right to cancel a site if there are four or fewer orchestras participating. The Regional Festivals take place between 7:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at each site; you may be scheduled outside your school day. Sites with four or fewer groups on the deadline day will be canceled and you will be asked if a second site would work for your participation.

Please help your students understand appropriate behavior in the festival setting. Students should not enter or exit at any time during a performance. Students should be respectful of the group performing.​

​Rating forms will be returned to directors, along with their scores, at the conclusion of their clinic. Since some directors choose a non-competitive experience for their students, any discussion of ratings at the event is inappropriate. We appreciate everyone respecting the confidentiality of the results until the official announcements. Judges, clinicians and site hosts are not in a position to discuss results at any time.

Copyright Law​

All participants in the Middle Level Regional Festival are required to perform from legally acquired copies of the music.

Use of unauthorized photocopies for the judges, clinician, performers or director will result in disqualification for State Honors Concert consideration and the ensemble will receive Comments Only (no rating).

Exception: “Emergency copying to replace purchased copies which for any reason are not available for an imminent performance is permissible provided replacement copies shall be substituted in due course.” (No. 1 of the Guidelines on Fair Use of Copyright Material.) In this situation, a letter from the publisher/music vendor reflecting a nonreturnable order for the printed music in question is required and should be presented to the MNSOTA board liaison on-site in advance of the ensemble’s performance. Failure to provide this letter in advance of the orchestra’s performance will result in disqualification for Tier 2 consideration and the ensemble will receive Comments Only (no rating).

Judges Forms

Clinician Form

Event Cancellation/Refund Policy

Since events cannot be rescheduled, during normal times MNSOTA is committed to holding all events as planned and will cancel an event only in cases of a safety emergency (e.g. road conditions/weather), based on state advisories. If an event is canceled, participant fees paid to an outside organization, such as GetAccptd, cannot be refunded. However, at the discretion of the board, a partial refund of participant fees paid to MNSOTA may be considered after expenses have been paid.

Performance Pieces Guidance

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