For students 7th through 12th grade. An intermediate-level group that is a complete ensemble of woodwind, brass, string, and percussion players who must audition for a spot in the group.
The Academy Orchestra is the intermediate level ensemble with a full complement of strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion. Entrance is by audition only. String players must demonstrate facility above 1st position and in keys up to 4 sharps and 4 flats. Woodwind and Brass players must be at the level to make All-Region Band and Orchestra. The audition should include: One major scale, 2-3 octaves; one melodic minor scale, 2-3 octaves; two prepared pieces or movements of contrasting style and tempo; and sight-reading.
Tom McDonald - Conductor
Tom McDonald has been a violinist in the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra since 1976, and he is also a member of the Conway Symphony Orchestra. Tom served the Pine Bluff Symphony as assistant conductor, concertmaster, principal second, and youth orchestra conductor at different periods throughout its 25-year history.
Tom McDonald was an orchestra director in the Little Rock Public Schools from 1978 to 2015. He taught at Central, Hall, J. A. Fair, and Parkview High Schools as well as Dunbar, Henderson, Mann, Mabelvale, and Pulaski Heights Middle Schools.
Tom has conducted the Arkansas Symphony Academy Youth Orchestra since 1998, and he has served on the music faculty at Arkansas Governor's School since 2000.
Rehearsal and Concert Schedule