FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

OLD VERSIONS Here are answers to frequently asked questions about playing with SOL, but if you’d like to know or ask something that isn’t covered below do ask one of us or email: craig@streetorchestra.co.uk

Playing with SOL

Street Orchestra has a fixer (Stella / fixers@streetorchestra.co.uk) and a clear system for asking players to participate in projects and tours.

A project is usually 1-3 days long; tours happen twice per year and are usually 7-10 days long.

Who is asked first?

We have an A-list. These are players who have:

– auditioned
– taken part in at least one tour
– been invited by the Artistic Director to take part in all future tours & projects

A player who cannot offer on-going commitment to SOL will join the B list.
Similarly, if a player on the A-list misses 2 consecutive tours, they’ll be asked if they’d prefer to join the B list.

Who’s asked next?

We have a B-list. These are players who have:

– auditioned
– are generally available for future tours & projects.

Who’s asked next?

We have a reserve list. These are players who have:

– not auditioned
– but taken part in a previous tour/project

Wind players alternate between playing 1st and 2nd, and decided between themselves how they organise this; string players rotate position within their sections apart from principal players. The list of players and sections will be made available before the start of the tour/project.

Yes, the music will be made available to you online as PDF parts in advance. See the Rep page for details [LINK TO FOLLOW]. 

If the repertoire list is new, then part of the first rehearsal will require everyone to help sort out the pads. 

If the repertoire has been done before, then the pads should be complete already. However, things always seem to get lost somehow, so you may need to be patient whilst a replacement is printed (speak to our assistant conductor, Chloe, for this) 

During the rehearsal period there will be tutti rehearsals and sometimes tutor-led sectionals/group work. You can expect to play for around  6-7 hours per day. Where possible there will be try-outs of new material in public. Everyone is expected to have looked through the music in advance and memorised anything that’s been marked to be played from memory. Having one or more pieces that can be played without music and music stands is essential for flashmob opportunities and spontaneous performances.

Don’t forget to bring rosin, slide grease, mutes, spare strings, etc with you.

Music stands will be provided.

You need to download this form: [AWAITING LINK] and then send your receipt/invoice/picture of your ticket (as proof of purchase) to Louise: louise@streetorchestra.co.uk

Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided by SOL and/or our hosts and partner venues whilst we’re on tour.

The food we cook is vegetarian and often vegan and gluten free. Please let us know in advance if you have any specific dietary requirements.

Feel free to bring snacks with you but note that there are unlikely be any fridges for you to use.

Touring with SOL

Tours are planned to coincide with school/college holidays, and as part of each tour there is a rehearsal period of several days. Currently there are two tours per year: winter and summer. These last between 6 and 10 days (in rehearsals days). Outside of these are shorter projects (generally over a weekend), and these happen sporadically 2 or 3 times per year.

Currently we only tour in England due the restrictions of Arts Council England grants. We’d be more than happy to visit other countries, although Scotland now has its own street orchestra, The Nevis Ensemble. If you’ve a strong idea for a tour abroad, do get in touch with a member of the team.   

Each tour day is different, but you can expect to play between 4 to 6 performances each day, usually between 10am and 10pm. Most of these will be 40-60mins, however some spontaneous performances might be shorter. There is no concert dress, just wear what you’d normally wear, or a SOL t-shirt if you own one.

Some performances will be public, some private; some will be indoors, some outdoors (but only ever in good weather); some are pre-arranged, some are spontaneous; some are very lively, some need sensitivity (e.g in hospitals, hospices, secure facilities etc.); some for large crowds, some for small. The variety is constant.

SOL only works when everyone helps set up and pack down. It’s a team effort and everyone plays a vital role before, during and after we play. However, you’ll only every be asked to contribute within your physical capabilities.

So as well as your instrument, you’ll need patience, flexibility and your sense of adventure!

A member of the orchestra choose the programme before the gig so each one is different. Mostly it’s between 40-60 mins, however some spontaneous performances might be shorter. With most partners hosting us we agree in advance how long we’ll play for. 

Either side of the performance we require 10-15 mins to set up/pack down, refill our water bottles and find the nearest loo!

You just need to bring you instrument and any accessories (extra strings, reeds etc). Everything else we carry with us including music stands. We’ll distribute the very necessary pegs to keep the music from misbehaving when we’re outside (try to keep hold of them!), and we also carry disposable ear plugs if you need them. 

If we’re due to tour in an area of the country you’re from and you have some ideas where we could play, we’d love to hear about it. Have a chat with Craig or Louise.