Audition Information

Contact Music Director, Dr. Jeff Specht – – for more info! 


All students and community volunteers are welcome to join! The SSO serves a dual mission: as an academic ensemble for students enrolled at Simpson University and Shasta Community College, and as an orchestra for skilled adult volunteer musicians.

Adult community volunteers:

Adult volunteer musicians can choose to either 1) arrange a private audition with Dr. Specht or 2) just sit in for one entire rehearsal. If the latter is selected, please make sure to make arrangements with Dr. Specht ahead of time. Adult volunteer musicians can join the orchestra at any point in the season – musicians often play just 1-2 of the 5 concerts we have each year. We will get you involved on the first rehearsal of the next concert rotation. While players of diverse performance abilities are welcome, all community members must meet a minimum performance ability threshold, outlined on the course syllabus. For specific questions about the performance ability threshold related to your instrument, please contact Dr. Specht directly.

Students (College, University or high school):

NOTE: High school students must participate in their local school music programs if they intend to audition for the SSO. The SSO and Shasta Concert Symphony Orchestra (formerly Shasta Youth Symphony and Shasta Pre-Symphony) are intended to enhance a student’s musical experience, not replace their involvement in a local program. High School students should be enrolled in the Shasta Youth Symphony, but are welcome to also audition for the SSO if they are of a high ability level. College students should audition for SSO, but may find the Shasta Concert Symphony a better fit if they are at an intermediate ability level, or if they play an instrument that is more competitive, such as flute or trumpet. 

All new and returning students must audition every fall. Auditions normally take place the first two Tuesdays of the Shasta College Fall Semester, in room 633, the large rehearsal room down the hall from the Theater. If you are new to the SSO, contact Dr. Specht directly in order to ensure that you have the correct and most current audition schedule. When you arrive, sign up for a specific time slot. Once you have taken your audition you will be allowed to register for the course. (Simpson University students will audition on Labor Day.)

Students may also audition into the group in late fall or early January and join the SSO spring semester. Contact Dr. Specht to schedule an audition.

Audition Materials:

  1. Two short contrasting pieces, or excerpts of pieces, just 60-90 seconds each
    1. One should be more technical in nature
    2. The other should be more lyrical and expressive in nature
    3. Solo pieces are best, but band or orchestral excerpts are acceptable
    4. Percussionists should select one piece on snare drum, one on mallets, then demonstrate timpani tuning and crash cymbal crashes as soft, medium, and loud dynamics.
  2. Three scales of your choosing, 2 or 3 octaves each
  3. Sight-reading