String Orchestra Festival

Each March the Tacoma Youth Symphony Association sponsors an orchestra festival for Middle School and Junior High School orchestras.

Tuesday, March 28th, 2023

Held at the Tacoma Convention Center

Stay tuned for the dates of next year’s String Orchestra Festival!

Each March, the Tacoma Youth Symphony Association sponsors an orchestra festival for middle school and junior high school orchestras. The String Orchestra Festival (also known as SOF) provides a unique non-competitive environment for middle and junior high school musicians to perform, listen, and learn. Orchestras from throughout the Puget Sound region perform for one another, work with TYSA conductors, and have the opportunity to listen to TYSA chamber musicians.

If you would like your middle or junior high school orchestra to participate in this highly acclaimed event, please fill out the application below, or contact Mr. Tommy Hawthorne at for more information.

Important Dates

In order to ensure your school’s participation at the festival, please submit your application by November 1st and your fees by March 1st.

Take a peek behind the scenes to see what String Orchestra Festival is like!

About the Festival

Since 1982, the Tacoma Youth Symphony Association and the Washington State Arts Commission have sponsored the String Orchestra Festival. The festival provides a day for students to share and enjoy music together in a non-competitive environment. It is not a contest, and no ratings are given. Each participating school receives a plaque to display in its orchestra room. The festival day is divided into 8 tracks of approximately 4-6 schools (or approximately 110-250 students) each. These tracks, called “Festival Orchestras,” are color-coded and stay together for all activities throughout the day.


Each Festival Orchestra’s schedule will vary, but generally the day starts around 9:00 for most schools and ends around 2:00. A detailed schedule will be mailed to you by the end of February.


Scores and a set of parts will be emailed in January. Each director is responsible for making the necessary number of copies for their students.


Each school will need to make their own travel arrangements. Accommodations can be made for students with special needs by emailing the TYSA office.


Each student needs to bring their own folding music stand. All stands and instruments should be marked with the student’s name and school.


For more information, please contact Mr. Tommy Hawthorne, Education Manager, at or 253-627-2792 x5.

String Orchestra Festival Application

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