•  Perry Orchestras Handbook 2019-2020

     Welcome to the Perry High School Orchestra Program! I am excited that you have chosen to continue your string studies by being part of the orchestras. This year promises to be a rewarding year of musical achievement as our groups grow in size and musical excellence. 

    This handbook contains valuable information pertaining to the Perry Orchestra Program. Please read it carefully with your parents then return the attached contract acknowledging that you have read the handbook and are aware of the students’ responsibilities in orchestra classes and mandatory performances. If you have any concerns or questions please feel free to e-mail or call me at the school. Thank you!

     Dr. Valerie Dopp, director of Perry High School Orchestras                        

    e-mail:  dopp.valerie@cusd80.com                      Phone:  (480) 224-2961                      Orchestra Room:  D105           


    Perry High School Orchestra Website can be accessed by logging on the Perry H.S. home page (then click staff, Dopp). The website lists important information for orchestra students and parents. It includes the orchestra instructor’s brief bio, syllabus, event list/calendar, the student handbook, current regional and all state audition etudes, helping hands program and fundraising/parent booster club among many others.


    You will find the ORCHESTRA CONTRACT at the end of this Orchestra Handbook. The primary purpose of this contract is to make certain that both you and your parents have read this handbook and are aware of the responsibilities involved in orchestra membership. It also indicates that you have reviewed the accompanying PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE with your parents and have arranged to be available on all the dates indicated.


    There is a $40 class participation fee for all Perry Orchestras. Fees collected will cover the student’s orchestra t-shirt, local field trip transportation costs, and newly purchased sheet music for the orchestras. If the $40 fee is a hardship for your family, please communicate your need for a scholarship to Mrs. Dopp.


    There are currently three orchestra classes offered at Perry. Placement audition or the director’s recommendation is required before a student is assigned to an appropriate performing group. Placement auditions are scheduled by making an appointment with the orchestra director during the week before school starts, or during the first week of school. Students that have not auditioned will be enrolled in Concert Orchestra.


    All orchestra students use a supplementary technique book in addition to their regular orchestra sheet music.  Students would be encouraged to purchase a copy of this book for their home practice. It is available at local music stores (be sure to call first to make sure your book is in stock – they may have to order it).        

    All Students: Essentials for Strings - Kjos Music Company (black)


    It is highly recommended that students consider taking private lessons.  Nothing can take the place of this kind of individualized, expert attention and guidance.   Private lessons greatly increase the chances for students to participate in High School Regional Honor Orchestra, All-State Honor Orchestra, and prepare them for the collegiate level.


    Individual Playing tests will be given once per quarter throughout the school year and will function also as chair placements for each orchestral section. The playing test may be comprised of scales and excerpts from the current repertoire. The tests may be digitally recorded or observed live at the discretion of the orchestra director. In class playing quizzes may be given periodically and may or may not be announced. A student grade will not be determined by comparing an individual playing with that of other orchestra members; it will be based entirely on his/her own effort and progress as they relate to their musical potentials and aptitudes.  In addition to being graded, students will be seated according to how well they perform comparing with others in their section and/or with a consideration of what is the best for the orchestra. Seating within a section will freeze approximately one to three weeks before each major performance. Chair rotation will also be part of the orchestra class seating practice.

    During the grading period playing test may be retaken once for a better grade.  It will be student’s responsibility to arrange a time with the orchestra director to come in before or after school to make up missed tests or retake a test.  A zero will be scored for missed test until it is made up.  Seating will not be changed on the basis of a retake test.         

    All grades close one week prior to the end of a quarter. No test may be made up or retaken after this date. Competition is a part of life, but it is not the only part; enjoy the challenges, celebrate the successes and learn from your mistakes.   


    Practicing your instrument is homework in orchestra and each student is expected to practice a minimum of four days a week. This year practice records will be collected every three weeks. Students must write what literature and exercises/scales they practiced and parents must sign each week. Four practice days are required each week

    Music checks may occur at any timeand may be performed with your stand partner or individually. Be prepared for periodic music checks - they count toward your grade in orchestra class.


    All Perry General School policies for behavior and attendance from the Student Handbook are observed. The student handbook will be reviewed in the first period class on the first day of school.      

    1. A. When the bell rings for class, the students will be in their seat with their instruments unpacked ready to tune. For each class period, each student will have their:

    1) Instrument   2) Music          3) Pencil          4) Shoulder rest, mute, rosin etc.

    If the student does not have these materials, his/her rehearsal contribution grade will be affected. If you forget your instrument, please ask for a loaner that day. DO NOT USE OTHER STUDENTS' INSTRUMENTS WITHOUT PERMISSION. Be responsible.

    1. B. Do not talk during the rehearsal; listen to what the director is instructing, even if it is not specifically addressing to you. Write in everything, bowings, phrases, fingering, etc. Raise your hand if you have a question or need clarification. Stay present in the rehearsal; do not do homework, read, or text message.
    2. C. No food, drink or gum in the classroom except for closeable bottled water. 
    3. D. All string players must keep left hand fingernails trimmed short to accurately perform. Do not get porcelain nails or nail tips.
    4. E. The director’s permission is always required to enter and use a practice room.
    5. F. Students are only permitted to use cell phones an earphones for designated projects. Cell phones should be in your backpack during class – not in pockets or on music stands.
    6. G. You may touch and play only your own instrument.


    School Concerts

    There will be a school concert per quarter, reflecting student progress for that grading period. These performances are mandatory and are equivalent to exams in other classes. All concerts will be held in the Perry High School Auditorium, beginning at 7:00pm. The dates for the concerts are:

    Mon., Sept. 23rd                     Thurs., Dec. 5th            Mon., Mar. 2nd                  Tues., May 5th    

    Step-Up Concert and CUSD Elem./JHS Honor Orchestra Concerts

    We will hold a special invitational concert for our Jr. High Feeder Schools. Chamber Orchestra will plan and hold the event for incoming 8th graders - after school activities & rehearsal, dinner, and concert. Chamber Orchestra will also be the guest performers for this years' CUSD Elem./Jr. High Honor Orchestra Concert

    Tues., Jan. 14th - Step-Up Concert (Chamber)

    Tues., Mar. 31st - Honor Orchestra Guest Performance (Chamber)

    Disneyland Studio Session & Los Angeles trip

    All Perry Orchestra students are invited to participate in our overnight L.A. trip. We will see a L.A. Philharmonic concert, and play in a Disneyland Studio Session in the Disneyland backstage. More info to follow.

    Fri.-Sat., Apr. 3rd-4th

    Graduation Ceremony Performance

    This is the annual special performance at the senior graduation ceremony and mandatory for Chamber and Symphonic orchestra members: Wednesday, May 27th, 2:30 – 10:00 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena at ASU. Be sure to keep up on your studying for final exams because Graduation is the night before your last final. You will have some studying time between the sound check and the graduation performance.

    All above performances are mandatory and are part of the student’s orchestra grade. If an unavoidable conflict arises, a parent must notify the director in writing at least 3 weeks prior to the concert. If the reason for the absence is qualified, the director will assign a makeup work that will substitute for the student’s grade absence. The student will receive zero points if he/she is unexcused and does not attend a performance.

    ABODA Festival

    ABODA (Arizona Band and Orchestra Director’s Association) organizes performances in which the students have the opportunity to be evaluated by other well established educators and musicians, and perform for other schools. These festivals occur about once a semester, and are hosted by other schools. ABODA Festivals are AIA sanctioned events, which mandates that students must maintain their passing status in order to participate.

    Thurs., Feb. 27th Perry Chamber and Symphonic Orchestras will perform at the Red Mountain High School Site Area Festival

    Regional/All State Honor Orchestras/Solo & Ensemble

    In January the students have an opportunity to audition for and participate in an orchestra that is comprised of the best string students in the region, and later in the state. Audition and excerpt information will be distributed as soon as the organization makes them available. Students in the Chamber Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra are strongly encouraged to participate. All students are encouraged to participate in the solo & ensemble events sponsored by ABODA. Guidelines for the solo & ensemble are available upon the request.

    GRADING POLICY - Grade Breakdown as follows:

    30% Concerts/Performances                                   30% Playing Tests & Written Tests

    15% Student Practice Reflection                            25% Rehearsal Contribution

    (student self-evaluation)                                              (teacher’s observation/evaluation)



    Letter Grade Distribution:   A = 90-100%     B = 80-89%     C = 70-79%     D = 60-69%     F = 59% or lower


    As a member of the Perry orchestras a student will wear the ‘traditional’ concert attire at performances – as follows:

    GENTLEMEN: Long sleeve black Tux Jacket and Pants, Black bowtie and cummerbund, Long sleeve white Tux Shirt, Black dress shoes and socks. Students will work with a tux rental/purchase shop to obtain appropriate concert attire and are responsible for the fee or may order a tux online.

    LADIES: Black long sleeve ankle-length dress, Black dress shoes and black hose. No flip flops. New orchestra student need to rent a concert dress from the school and pay the one-time, non-refundable $40.00 rental fee. The dress may be kept with the student until she withdraws from the orchestra or graduates, then dresses must be returned.

    We want everyone to perform in uniform.  We play better when we look sharp.  This means shoes are polished, uniforms are clean and wrinkle-free.  Festival performances typically have a “uniform grade.”  We need to always “dress for success” for all performances.


    Violin and viola players will be assigned an instrument locker in the storage room. A school combination lock will be provided if requested. These lockers are only for the storage of musical instruments. Students will share a locker with another classmate. Violin and viola players MUST USE LOCKERS TO STORE INSTRUMENTS DURING THE SCHOOL DAY. Students should take instruments home several days a week to practice, unless you have another instrument to practice at home. INSTRUMENTS LEFT ON THE FLOOR WILL BE IMPOUNDED. See Mrs. Dopp for retrieval process.


    I strongly recommended that students rent/own their own instruments. There are a few school violins/violas available at Perry but they are reserved for students who have no means of having an instrument otherwise. Once these needs are filled, the remaining violins/violas can be rented out. For cello and bass players, they will use school instruments during the regular orchestra classes and need to pay the instrumental rental annual fee unless they want to bring their own instruments to school each day. Students should bring their own instruments from home for performances, as there may not be enough instruments for combined orchestras. If there are enough instruments, students may check out school instruments for home practice. Instrument annual rental Fee is $40 for the current year with a signed contract. The student is responsible for any damages to the instrument while it is in his/her possession.


    Perry High Orchestra Helping Hands Program is a student-help-student instrumental study program. It is offered to any orchestra students at Perry free of charge. Students are committed to report at the specified time weekly to work with a student tutor. Regular attendance and consistent practice is the key to successful study of their chosen instruments. For further information, please contact the orchestra director.


    Students will earn an orchestra letter in their second year to demonstrate excellence in playing/participation in orchestral activities. Every student is strongly encouraged to participate in this privileged lettering program and be the best orchestra member he/she can be (please see Mrs. Dopp for requirement details).


    The Music Department uses several FUND RAISERS to help lower the costs of orchestra activities, including the overnight Disneyland trip. All students should participate so we can lower the costs for all students.


    6:50am-7:20am & “A” lunch period Monday through Friday. Please make an appointment.



    Perry Orchestras Handbook & Participation Contract

    Sign and return by Friday, July 26, 2019 for a written assignment grade.

    Please print very clearly so I will not misinterpret your email and phone numbers.

    I have read the 2019-2020 Perry High School Orchestra Handbook.

    I understand and accept the responsibilities and requirements for this class, including the expectations, grading and attendance policies, and performance dates.     

    Email addresses will only be used by Dr. Dopp and the Perry Orchestra Boosters for the purposes of communication related to Perry Orchestra activities.


    _______________________________                      ________________________________

    Print Student Name                                                    Student Signature

    _______________________________                      ________________________________

    Student instrument                                                      Orchestra class

    _______________________________                      ________________________________

    Student cell phone #                                                   Student email address




    _______________________________                      ________________________________

    Print Parent/Guardian Name                                       Parent/Guardian Signature

     _______________________________                      ________________________________

    Parent/Guardian cell phone #                                     Parent/Guardian email


     We need volunteers to support Orchestra activities. Please check any area of interest below.


     [   ] Helping with Concerts (Sept. 23, Dec. 5, Jan. 14, Mar. 2, May 5)


    [   ] Homecoming Carnival (Sept. 12)


    [   ] Booster Meetings (First Wednesday of each mont - 6:00 p.m.)


    [   ] Chaperoning L.A. /Disneyland trip - must be district pre-approved by Oct. (Apr. 3-4)


    [   ] Fundraising (TBD)



    Thank you so much for your support!

    Dr. Valerie Dopp