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Handbook & Policies


Welcome and congratulations on being accepted into the Omaha Area Youth Orchestras! We are glad you are here. As you know, besides being a tremendous educational experience, this is a performance-oriented organization with very high standards. Do not let this intimidate you! Just practice and stay organized. We have a tradition to carry on, and each of you is an essential part of that process. 

Reading this handbook will help you understand OAYO's policies and stay organized so that you can take full advantage of everything we have to offer. We hope this material will answer the most frequently asked questions and save you time. Please do not hesitate to ask us any additional questions about OAYO.

2023-2024 Handbook for Accepted Musicians

(2024-2025 updates coming after July 1)


Table of Contents/Quick Links

Some of these links will take you directly to a page or document, while others will send you to a section of the handbook below

Staying Informed

Contact Information

OAYO administration operates primarily out of home offices. Please read on to learn more about who to contact with specific questions.


If you have questions about tuition, scholarships, rehearsals, auditions, operations, concerts or venues:

Contact our Programs and Operations Director, Cassie Fritch at

Learn more about Cassie here! 

If you have  questions about YS or YP music, YS or YP principal chair auditions, instruments, or artistic collaborations:

Contact our Music Director and Principal Conductor, Aviva Segall at

Learn more about Aviva here! 

If you have  questions about YCS or Prelude music or school visits:

Contact our Assistant Conductor Patty Ritchie at

Learn more about Patty here! 


If you have questions about chamber music or overall organizational questions:

Contact our Executive Director and Chamber Music Director, Sophia Potter at

Learn more about Sophia here! 

If you have questions regarding marketing, or social media:  

Contact our Marketing and Media Manager, Abigail Lill at

Learn more about Abbie here!

If you have questions regarding volunteering, or individual, corporate, planned, or foundation giving to support OAYO:

Contact our Volunteer Coordinator and Head Rehearsal ManagerJulissa Ramirez at

Learn more about Julissa here!

Our information to families is distributed through MailChimp, Google calendar, and individual emails/texts. Therefore, it is important that you keep us informed of your family's current email addresses.  Please send email address adds and/or changes to Cassie Fritch at

Please allow emails from OAYO according to your email provider.

If you are not receiving communication, check your spam folder.

Need to reach us right away on rehearsal days? Or 9am - 4pm Mon - Fri?

Call or text Cassie Fritch on our office cell phone at: 402-938-2718. 

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Venue Information 2023-2024


Primary Rehearsal and Performance Venue

University of Nebraska at Omaha– Strauss Performing Arts Center

6001 Dodge Street

Omaha, NE  68182

Telephone: 402-554-3446 (please note that no UNO staff are in the office on OAYO rehearsal days, so it is better to contact OAYO at 402-938-2718)


This is the home for all OAYO orchestras (YS, YP, and YCS) and chamber ensemble rehearsals, as well as several of our concerts. During the season, most rehearsals will be held at this location.  Check the calendar and email communication for details.

Alternative rehearsal venues for the 2023/2024 include Creighton Prep and the Jewish Community Center. 

Prelude Strings Rehearsal Venues


OAYO's eight week Prelude Strings program has multiple rehearsal sites and runs in the Spring. For more information about specific Prelude sites or questions, please click here or email

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Announcements are often made at the beginning of rehearsals regarding upcoming events.  Please listen carefully as they often contain important information that is pertinent to your ensemble. Memos with essential information regarding changes to the schedule or details about an upcoming event are announced and emailed through MailChimp and our opt-in text messaging service. Please make sure that you  are checking your email for OAYO communications at least once a week and check your junk or spam folder if you do not see communications from us. Announcements made via email will also be sent out via SlickText, our opt-in text messaging service. Information about how to opt in to your orchestra's text messages will be sent in August 2023. 


Like our Facebook page to stay informed about OAYO news and events! Join our “Current OAYO Musicians” page for special inside scoops.


Bad Weather and Cancellations

If the facility or venue is closed (for example, due to weather), we will close.  OAYO reserves the right to cancel any rehearsal or event, even if the venue is open, if we have determined it is unsafe for musicians to travel there. If musicians traveling a long distance to a rehearsal or concert are unable to attend due to weather or travel conditions, please contact Ms. Segall at and Cassie Fritch at as soon as possible.

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Orchestra Information

Rehearsal Schedules

Below are the regular rehearsal times and locations for OAYO's full-year programs. All rehearsals take place on Sundays. 

Youth Symphony

1:30 - 4:00pm

UNO Strauss Performing Arts Center, Concert Hall

Youth Philharmonic

4:15 - 6:15pm

UNO Strauss Performing Arts Center, Concert Hall

Youth Concert Strings 

4:30 - 6:15pm

UNO Strauss Performing Arts Center, Room 109

Chamber Music

Youth Symphony chamber music coachings will be from either 12:15 - 1:15pm or 4:15 - 5:15pm every Sunday that the orchestra meets. 

Youth Philharmonic and Youth Concert Strings chamber music coachings will be from 3:15 - 4:00pm every Sunday that the orchestra meets. 

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Special Events

Throughout the season, individual OAYO students, OAYO orchestras, and OAYO chamber music ensembles may be offered opportunities to perform for special events not currently listed on the season calendar. Specific information for these events will be communicated via email to those students involved. 


Note: It is the musician’s responsibility to check the rehearsal schedule and OAYO season calendar to be present at all events that require your attendance. Families should avoid scheduling ACT/SAT prep, driver’s education, family or social events, and non-school or college related travel on Sunday afternoons that OAYO rehearses. Please make sure you have all dates in your family calendar so that conflicts don’t catch you by surprise. 

Click here to access the Absence Request Form

Absence Policy:

  • All absences will count towards your maximum number of three (3) absences per concert cycle. This includes school music events, illness, and sporting events.

  •  As soon as a musician becomes aware of a conflict with a the schedule they must submit an absence request form.  

  • The latest a request for an expected absence may be submitted is the  Friday before rehearsal at 11:59pm. Failure to do so will incur an additional 1/2 absence.

  • Chamber music participants must also contact Sophia Potter at if they will be absent from chamber rehearsal.

  • Absence requests submitted only by email,text, or mentioned in person are not acceptable. Failure to submit an absence request form will result in an additional half absence. 

It is the responsibility of the musician who is absent to ALSO contact their stand partner, section principal, or friend concerning the missed rehearsal or sectional.  Additionally, it is their responsibility to find out if any important announcements concerning upcoming rehearsals, concerts, events, etc. were made by contacting Cassie at If the musician misses a string principal chair audition, it is the  musician’s responsibility to arrange a make-up audition before the audition date. Late auditions may not be honored.


Maximum Number of Absences:

  • No more than three absences for any reason are permitted per concert cycle (a concert cycle is the period between concerts. For example, the beginning of September to the concert in November is a concert cycle). This applies to rehearsals, outreach, and retreats.

  • Absences for any reason will count towards your maximum number. 

  • Once a musician has met the maximum number of absences allowed (three), the musician is required to re-audition for the conductor of their ensemble and, based on the results, may be asked to leave the organization or to not play in the concert.

  • The re-audition will take place during a rehearsal at the discretion of the conductor.

  • If a musician misses a fourth time, they will have to re-audition again.

  • If the musicians misses a fifth time, they will also have to re-audition again and at this point it, is highly likely that they will not  be allowed to play in the upcoming concert.

  • Students with more than 3 unreported or unexcused absences in a concert cycle who choose to drop OAYO will not receive a prorated tuition refund. 


There are no excused absences from dress rehearsals. The only exception is if a musician has a school-related music performance at the same time as an OAYO dress rehearsal, then the musician is excused from the dress rehearsal. The musicians must still complete the absence request form AND email If the musician will miss a concert, the student must let both the Music Director and the Program Director know as soon as possible as it may affect seating and instrumentation.

For Chamber Music, only 2 absences for any reason are permitted for the entire season. If you miss more than 2 chamber music rehearsals without prior approval from your coach and the chamber music director, you may be removed from your chamber group and required to pay the $100 chamber withdrawal fee. 

Attendance at all concerts and dress rehearsals is mandatory. 

Do not ask to be excused from concerts or dress rehearsals.  It is your responsibility to look over your season schedule and reconcile the concert dates with your other activities.  You will not be able to play the concert if you are absent from a dress rehearsal for reasons other than illness or a required school performance.


For long term ongoing commitments that you know about in advance such as sporting events, potential tournaments, college visits, etc.: 

  • Email AND with a list of confirmed AND potential absence dates as early as possible. Example: If there is a tournament happening on a Sunday that your team might be part of, let us know about that. 

  • Please ALSO complete an absence request form for each confirmed absence.


All musicians must be in their seats at least five minutes prior to the start of rehearsals.  Musicians are considered tardy if they are not in their seats, tuned with their music on the stand by the beginning of rehearsal or after the break.  Coming late or leaving a rehearsal early is counted as one-half (1/2) of an absence.  Late arrivals will sit in the back or at the end of the section during the rehearsal


Note: For events with the Omaha Symphony, tardiness will not be tolerated.

The potential for our orchestra to sound truly professional is within reach if we minimize absences from rehearsals. Ensemble playing, community creating and orchestral technique is established at every rehearsal. Each absence brings our overall performance down a notch. If the student does not show at rehearsal with the Omaha Symphony without notifying the OAYO staff, they cannot play at the concert.

Reporting Absences 24 hours of less in advance of rehearsal or concert

  • In case of illness or emergency with less than 24 hours notice before a rehearsal, you must complete an absence request form as soon as you become aware of the need to be absent.

  • For illness or emergency, please also email, or call or text 402-938-2718.

  • Failure to report an absence that the musician and family were aware of (scheduled events) and completing the form less than 48 hours before the missed rehearsal will result in an additional half absence. 

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Rehearsal Etiquette

During rehearsals, OAYO musicians are expected to...​

  • Check in at the welcome table. Failure to check in will result in being counted as tardy, regardless of whether or not you were here on time. 

  • Be seated and ready to play at least 5 minutes before the rehearsal start time

  • Be prepared, by bringing their instrument, necessary accessories (mute, rockstop, etc.), folder, music, and a #2 pencil with an eraser to every rehearsal and concert. 

  • Be respectful and attentive to the conductor and any guest artists present.

  • Have all cell phones and other electronic devices turned off or on airplane mode and put away. It is not acceptable to text or use your phone or tablet for any purpose during an OAYO rehearsal or concert. 

  • Food, drink (except for water bottles), and gum are prohibited in all rehearsal and concert spaces.

  • When taking a break, you are responsible for the safety of your instrument. Do not leave instruments or bows out of their cases if you are not holding them yourself. 

  • Rehearsals are open to family members and friends. They are welcome to sit in the back of the rehearsal room or hall, by the doors. We ask that all guests' electronic devices be silenced. The ensemble conductor reserves the right to ask anyone engaging in distracting behavior to leave. 

  • Failure to observe rehearsal etiquette will result in the following actions:

    • First warning: the conductor or rehearsal manager will ask the student to discontinue the specific behavior or action. 

    • Second warning: if the conductor or rehearsal manager observes the student violating rehearsal etiquette a second time (either in the same rehearsal or on a different day), the student will be asked to stop the behavior or action AND their parent or guardian will be notified via email and/or phone call. Depending on the violation, a meeting with the student, parent/guardian, and conductor may be required as well.

    • Final warning: if the student is observed violating rehearsal etiquette a third time, the​ student may be removed from OAYO programs without a tuition refund. The student may be allowed to re-audition and join OAYO in the future at the discretion of the conductor, Music Director, and Executive Director. 


OAYO musicians are responsible for their music folders and for all of the music given to them throughout the season. It is the responsibility of each musician to keep the ENTIRE season of music in their folders and bring it to every rehearsal, in case their stand partner is absent. Any markings in music should be made with a #2 pencil only. If music is damaged or lost, please contact for a replacement part or ask a rehearsal manager at rehearsal. 

Seating, Chair Placements, and Rotation

Youth Symphony and Youth Philharmonic 

Near the beginning of each rehearsal cycle, Principal chair auditions will be held for the following: 

  • ​   String sections of more than seven members: Principal, Associate Principal, and Assistant Principal

  •    String sections with four to six players: Principal and Associate Principal

  •    String sections with fewer than four players: Principal only

All other string seats will rotate and are not necessarily based on chair placement performance. 

You must submit principal chair audition videos online by the deadline. These auditions are mandatory! If your video is not submitted by the deadline, you will be pulled out of rehearsal to be recorded. After the principal chairs have been decided, the seating will remain the same until the concert. On rare occasions, seating may be changed prior to a concert at the discretion of the conductor. Winds, brass, and percussion rotate on a consistent basis. 

Youth Concert Strings

Seating will be rotational for each ensemble. Every student will be assigned a stand partner and each stand will be rotated every rehearsal, with the exception of the first stand. Auditions for the principal stand will take place in October (this will be announced in advance via email and at rehearsal). The principal stand positions will be re-auditioned in January for the spring concert. Any member of YCS is eligible to audition for the principal stand position within their section. Excerpts will be chosen from the music for the upcoming concert and will be made available to musicians at least one month prior to the audition.​

Filling Vacancies

A musician may be asked by the Music Director to permanently move up into another OAYO orchestra if a seat has been vacated by a member or the Music Director feels that additional players are required in a particular section to achieve the correct balance in that orchestra. The Music Director may also hold auditions for musicians outside the OAYO program to fill a vacancy. At the discretion of the Music Director, students may be asked to play as a guest player in an orchestra other than his/her present one at no cost if an additional part or extra players are needed for a concert. In the case where no OAYO member may fulfill the role, qualified students outside of OAYO could be asked.

All the above are at the discretion of the Music Director and students should meet the required qualifications, such as age and playing ability.

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Behavior and Conduct

OAYO’s supervisor responsibility for student musicians extends only to the scheduled times of all functions. Students are expected to remain in specified areas at all times.  OAYO cannot assume responsibility for students leaving specified areas. 


As OAYO’s musicians are considered young ambassadors to the community, appropriate behavior is expected at all times.  By participating in OAYO, musicians agree to the following rules:

  • There will be no distracting communication of any kind (including but not limited to:  hand or facial gestures, note passing, texting, etc.) or disruptive activity at any event, including rehearsals.

  • Cell phones and tablets must be turned off and put away during all OAYO rehearsals, sectionals, concerts and events.

  • Food, drink (except water), and gum are not allowed in the rehearsal or concert areas.

  • Possession or use of any item which might inflict personal injury or property damage is prohibited.

  • Foul language will not be tolerated.

  • Members are expected to display common courtesy and respect to all OAYO staff, coaches, guest musicians, parent volunteers and to fellow musicians at all times.

  • We are guests of our rehearsal and performance venues and must respect the space. We must leave the venue in the same condition as we found it. Students must pick up after themselves. Damage to or destruction of property is prohibited.

  • Abusing and/or not taking proper care of the OAYO/ UNO/other venue equipment or music will not be tolerated.

  • Bullying will not be tolerated. 

  • Unruly behavior can become dangerous and will not be tolerated. Physical or verbal assaults or any act or words that show threat to harm or endanger the safety of others will not be tolerated.

Failure to comply with any OAYO regulation will result in disciplinary action at the discretion of any member of the OAYO staff.  Violation of any policy may result in disciplinary action such as expulsion from the OAYO program and forfeiture of any tuition and fees paid. See "Rehearsal Etiquette" for how OAYO handles violations of the behavior policy. 


All OAYO rehearsal and performance venues prohibit smoking on or around the property.  Additionally, the consumption of alcoholic beverages, the purchase, sale or use of drugs or controlled substances is not permitted during any orchestra activity.  At no OAYO-sponsored event will cohabitation be tolerated.  Failure to comply with any of these regulations will result in the automatic expulsion from OAYO and forfeiture of any tuition and fees

Additional Responsibilities

Preparation & practice
Music is chosen to challenge and educate. Each musician is expected to prepare their music for each week’s rehearsal. In an orchestra, it is essential for every member to know their parts well to play together. If you do not know your parts, the whole orchestra will not play or sound well together.

Private instruction
We encourage all musicians to study with a private teacher and work on their orchestra music with their instructor. OAYO can help direct families to resources available to those with demonstrated financial need. Please contact the OAYO staff for more information.

School music programs
It is the policy of the Omaha Area Youth Orchestras’ Board of Directors to strongly encourage students to be enrolled in their school band or orchestra program. OAYO is intended to supplement the individual school music programs, and is not intended to supersede the music education currently being provided in the schools.
There are several reasons to join and/or stay in your school music program. These programs are an excellent place to learn and gain practical experience along with qualifying you for access to:
• All-state groups
• State Solo and Ensemble Festivals
• Many other opportunities and information since the school music programs are often the medium
for announcements and contacting music students
School program may also offer opportunities to:
• Travel, compete and meet new people
• Play principal (first) or solo parts
• Play for musicals
There are many other benefits of participating in your school music program. Playing daily is invaluable to a musician and if you plan on becoming a music major, the experience is vital to your future. You will gain additional recognition, leadership and musical training and exposure to more repertoire. You may be able to receive potential school scholarships and recommendations from music directors for scholarship, college entrance and special events.
You can make a tremendous contribution to these programs by serving as a role model, sharing your talents with others and to repay the start in music that you may have received from your school. The OAYO Music Director expects that you will be a member of your school music program. Your participation in these programs is vital for the entire Omaha area music community.

Instrument insurance
Musicians must insure any instruments, rented or owned. OAYO is not responsible for any damages that occur before, during, or after rehearsals or concerts.

Cello and Bass students

Must provide their own rock-stops for rehearsals and concerts.

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Concert Information

Concert Dress (Concert Dress Code)

Concert Dress is the "dress code" for musicians during concerts. Students are allowed to wear whatever they wish during rehearsals (we encourage them to follow their school's dress code), but during concerts, we ask that they wear concert dress. The purpose for the following dress code is so the audience will stay focused on the music during the performance and won’t be distracted by individuals in the ensemble. It has been made to create the best-looking and most uniform appearance at the lowest cost to the families. Therefore, if a musician comes to a concert in unacceptable attire, they will not be allowed on stage until the problem has been resolved.
If financial circumstances do not allow a student to provide their own concert attire, please contact

Youth Symphony
Option 1:
Solid Black blouse with 3/4 or full length sleeves. No deep v-neck or boat neck blouses. 

Solid Black tea or floor length (no side slits) skirt, with opaque tights

OR Solid Black dress pants

OR Solid Black 3/4 or full length sleeve, floor length or tea length dress *

Solid Black DRESS shoes & opaque tights 

No bows, sequins, patterns, or sheer materials. 

Option 2: 

Solid Black slacks


Solid white shirt with full length sleeves. Button-down preferred.


Solid Black coat


Solid Black bow tie


Solid Black DRESS shoes and black socks

Percussion will observe the dress code of the orchestra they are playing with. If they are playing with both Youth Symphony and Youth Philharmonic in the same concert, they should follow the Youth Symphony dress code.

Youth Philharmonic and Youth Concert Strings
Option 1: 
Solid white blouse with sleeves. No deep v-neck or boat neck blouses. 

Solid dark** tea or floor length (no side slits) skirt*  OR Solid dark dress pants 

Dark** DRESS shoes

No bows, sequins, patterns, or sheer materials. 

Option 2: 

Solid dark** slacks


Solid white shirt (no coat or tie)


Dark** DRESS shoes & socks


*Tea length should fall several inches below the knee.

** DARK should preferably be BLACK; however, navy blue is acceptable.
Jewelry should be kept to a minimum. No flip flops are allowed. Please do not wear perfume during rehearsals and performances.

Prelude Strings

For everyone: Nice clothing, dress or skirt below the knees. Party/church clothes.

When to arrive on Concert Days

Call time is generally 30 minutes before the concert starts, unless otherwise specified. Check the calendar and your email for exact times.

"Call time" means you are inside the performance venue with your instrument unpacked and tuned. 

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Chamber Music

A chamber music ensemble is a small group of musicians who perform on their instruments together without a conductor. Each musician in the group is the only one on a part, so you learn to be more independent. Students who are active participants in the chamber music program improve greatly as leaders and musicians, and develop new friendships. Chamber Music Ensembles are coached by local
professional musicians and public or private teachers. Chamber groups will perform one or more formal concerts. More advanced chamber groups may be given the opportunity to perform on all-orchestra concerts. 

Groups are formed over the summer by the Chamber Music Director, with consultation from the Music Director. Students must be participating in YS, YP, or YCS for the full season in order to participate in chamber music. OAYO chamber music rehearsals are one hour long. YS, YP, and YCS chamber music rehearsals will take place on Sunday afternoons at UNO Strauss Performing Arts Center. If you miss more than two chamber music rehearsals TOTAL for any reason, you may need to re-audition for your coach. If your coach determines that you will not be able to continue with the group, it will be treated as a cancellation after the start of the season and charged the $100 late withdrawal fee.

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Concerto Competition

The OAYO Concerto Competition is an opportunity to perform before a panel of judges, receive written comments and compete for one opportunity to perform as a soloist with Youth Symphony. The OAYO Concerto Competition is limited to musicians who are members of Youth Symphony or Youth Philharmonic in both the season in which they audition and the season in which they perform. Members may audition on any instrument and are not limited to the instrument which they play in OAYO in Youth Symphony or Youth Philharmonic. Winners may audition again after three years. There is no minimum age requirement, however the entry into the competition is limited to members of the Youth Symphony and Youth Philharmonic  The Competition is designed for all instrument divisions, i.e.. winds, brass, percussion, strings, harp, guitar, and piano. A single competition winner will be announced.

The repertoire is to be one movement of a standard concerto or concert piece performed from memory. Applicants must provide their own accompanist on the day of the contest. Additional competition and forms will be sent via email communication in January. 

The winner will receive 8 comp tickets for the concert. If more tickets are needed, a limited number of group tickets may be available. Contact the office.


The Concerto Competition for the 2024-2025 season will be held in late March 2024.


Family Information


Tuition and Payment Schedule

OAYO Tuition– Based on a seven-month schedule (September to March)

Payments will be accepted online through Ludus (full year) or Affinipay (monthly) only. The single exception is a payment in full before October 8, 2023 which may be made with a check turned in at rehearsal or mailed to the P.O. Box at the bottom of this webpage. A handling fee is charged for all payments (check and online), but has been built in to the tuition rates.

If a musician chooses to drop membership of any OAYO orchestra or chamber music, all fees are still payable unless written notice is received from the office. Notice of dropped membership must be sent to AND


Billing information will be emailed in July or August prior to the start of the season. If any problems arise, please contact Cassie Fritch at

Each musician in the OAYO program is responsible for payment of all applicable fees. These fees are due on the dates established in the information packet received by each musician and their parents/guardians. It is the position of the OAYO, Inc. Board of Directors that no student be denied participation in the program due to financial need. Tuition scholarships are available throughout the year. Please contact for inquiries. 


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Concert Tickets and Information

All current concerts and ticket payment options will be available on our ticketing site (Ludus). Attendees will be given the option to pay what they wish for tickets when they reserve them online.


Due to copyright and facility restrictions, no recordings or videotapes are allowed at any time during concerts, unless prior permission has been given by both OAYO and the venue. 

Music teacher tickets

Private instrumental teachers and school orchestra or band directors are invited to attend each OAYO concert for free and are also encouraged to reserve tickets for potential (not current) members of OAYO. 

Outside event tickets

Occasionally, OAYO will receive tickets from other performing groups in the area that will be made available for OAYO students at either no cost or reduced cost. OAYO will update every student via email communications regarding these opportunities. 

Additional Fundraising Opportunities

Program Advertising

Please visit this link to take out an advertisement in our programs! We love to see our families honor their musicians in our programs. If you or someone you know is a business owner, encourage them to place an ad!

Individual Giving

Unless a student is paying Tier A, OAYO tuition does not cover the full cost of providing OAYO's programs to students. Donations from OAYO families, alumni, community supporters, and local businesses or companies are integral to helping OAYO continue to provide the highest possible level of music education programming. There is never any expectation for currently enrolled OAYO students and their families to make a financial gift beyond their tuition payment. However, should you wish to go above and beyond to make a difference for future young musicians, you can click here to make a fully tax-deductible donation to OAYO. Be sure to check and see if your employer has a matching gift program. If you have further questions about donations, please contact 


Buying something from a local brick and mortar business in Omaha or Lincoln? Check to see if they are a businesses using  "Together a Greater Good" (TAGG)! Visit and follow the instructions to "TAGG" OAYO for a percentage of your purchase at no additional cost to you! 

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Volunteer Information


Volunteer Handbook

This volunteer portion of the handbook is intended to help you become acquainted with the Omaha Area Youth Orchestras’ volunteer requirements, expectations and policies. This handbook should serve as a guide, but it is not the final word in all cases. This is a summary of a portion of the OAYO policies governing volunteers and musicians. Please contact the office with all questions and for additional  information.

Basic Volunteering Information 

Why is volunteering important? Why does OAYO have a volunteer component? 

Success: OAYO has a volunteer component to ensure that our musicians have a productive, efficient and inspiring experience, whether this is at a rehearsal, concert or other event. Your support as a volunteer is vital to create a successful environment for our musicians.
Connections: Volunteering with OAYO helps parents and their musicians connect to the program on a more personal level. Through volunteering you will get to know the OAYO staff, conductors, coaches and musicians. You will get to know our strengths, benefits and
growth areas. Your support as a volunteer also lets your musician know how much you value their musicianship.
Value: Our parent volunteers are incredibly valuable. We estimate that volunteers in our
three audition orchestras and Prelude Strings will donate more than 1,100 hours, a value that is worth over $20,000. With the help of volunteers, we are able to keep our staffing costs lower. These lower costs mean that OAYO is able to funnel that money into other areas, such as scholarships for musicians from low income families.

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Volunteer Requirement
Every parent/guardian/caregiver is asked to volunteer at least three times (preferably at three separate rehearsals or events) in order to receive a $100 volunteer refund.  Volunteer assignments include helping with rehearsals, concerts, outreach and retreat events. An OAYO staff member may contact you and ask you to help with a special project, as well. Complete volunteer job descriptions are available on the website.

How to Sign up to Volunteer
To sign up for volunteer assignments, please click here. Look for the links for your students' ensemble! Select the volunteer sign up that corresponds to your student's orchestra. Sign up for a least three volunteer assignments. If none of the assignments fit your schedule, or all spaces become filled, contact and we will try to make arrangements for you to volunteer at some other time or in another way.

Special Volunteer Projects:
OAYO may contact you and ask you to use your professional skills to help out with a special project. Help with special projects can take the place of the traditional rehearsal volunteer requirement. Additionally, assisting with carpooling can also take the place of a traditional rehearsal volunteer job. If you have a certain skill or knowledge base that you think would be helpful for a special project, contact us and let us know what you can do!

Alternate Assignments:
If you are not able to help out at a rehearsal or event due to your schedule, all the slots become filled or you need special accommodation, please contact an OAYO staff member. We can always find a way for you to help out.

OAYO Expectations for the Volunteer:
By the beginning of the season: 
• Sign up to volunteer by the beginning of the season.
• Sign up for three time slots.
• Mark your volunteer assignment in your calendar. We will send a reminder a few days
before your assignment, but it is your responsibility to make sure you remember your commitment.
• Read over the volunteer job descriptions to get a sense of what you will be asked to do while volunteering (the job descriptions are available on the website).

Week of your volunteer commitment:
• Double check your calendar to make sure you do not have any conflicts. Four days prior to your volunteer assignment you will receive a reminder email.

What volunteers can expect from OAYO:

  • A friendly and supportive environment.

  • An email reminder four days prior to your volunteer assignment.

  • A volunteer job description posted on the website and located at the venue.

  • Clear instructions on what to do and how to do it when you arrive for your volunteer shift.

  • The knowledge that we will keep track of the number of times you have volunteered.


Volunteer and Staff Roles:
Volunteers will work closely with OAYO staff. OAYO staff will provide volunteers with instruction and guidance on what to do. Volunteers will report directly to the OAYO staff member on duty. This will typically be the rehearsal manager, but may also include the Operations, Program Manager, the Executive Director, the Music Director, or the Assistant Conductor.

Communication Procedures:

All communication will be sent out via email. It is important that volunteers check their email regularly. This includes checking your email spam filter and allowing emails from OAYO and Reminders are sent out automatically from It is important to allow emails from them to make sure you receive your reminders.

What to do if you have a question: Questions regarding volunteering can be directed towards the Volunteer Coordinator at

Volunteer Attendance Policy:
Volunteers are expected to arrive by the time listed on the sign up. Arriving on time ensures that the orchestra and your musician are able to have a productive rehearsal experience that starts on time. We rely on volunteers to help set up the rehearsal space and run events. Your tardiness or absence negatively affects OAYO musicians. Repeated tardiness or absence will not be tolerated and if it becomes an issue, we will discuss the problem with you.
Last minute conflict:
If you have a last minute conflict the day of the rehearsal or event you are supposed to volunteer for, please contact the OAYO rehearsal manager ( AND Volunteer Coordinator ( right away. If conflict becomes known prior to your volunteer assignment, contact the Volunteer Coordinator so they can find someone to replace you, if necessary. Please sign up for another volunteer assignment or contact OAYO staff member to schedule a make up for your volunteer commitment.


If you have not met your volunteer commitment:
If you do not meet your volunteer commitment by the end of the season, we will contact you. Our new system keeps track of volunteer hours and information for each volunteer. We value your time and will make opportunities available for you to meet your commitment.

OAYO values the work that family volunteers contribute every season. Much of the programming would not be possible without the help of volunteers. Formal and informal means of recognizing our volunteers will be utilized throughout the season. Know that we appreciate you and the work you do!

Travel Policy:
Occasionally, volunteers may be asked to help pick up or haul equipment for the organization or to drive a large distance to volunteer. Volunteering itself is not tax deductible. However, you can deduct certain travel expenses from your taxes.
You may deduct any parking fees incurred, tolls and cost of gas and oil for the miles you drive for OAYO. The easy way to keep track is to maintain a log of the miles you travel for volunteer work and deduct the IRS charitable rate per mile.

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OAYO Policies

Lost and Found

Musicians who are missing items after a rehearsal should contact the rehearsal or performance venue or the OAYO staff.  OAYO is not responsible for any personal items (purses, coats, music, etc.) left at event sites. Found items will be kept for 30 days after the program ends. After this allotted time period, the items will be donated.

Privacy and Communications Policy

At the discretion of the Omaha Area Youth Orchestras, your contact information (name, address, telephone number, etc.) may be released to other organizations representing unique musical or educational opportunities for students and their families. The Omaha Area Youth Orchestras may also distribute information to you regarding unique musical or education opportunities.
OAYO reserves the right to audio and/or video rec
ord and/or photograph any and all activities for later use which may include printed or electronic materials and/or radio/television/online broadcast. The Medical, Liability, and Media Release provides either your consent or rejection of this policy. 
Musician and/or family likeness, either in print, electronically or in audio or video recordings, may be used for any purpose, with or without the use of name, school, grade and other pertinent information, and without remuneration, by Omaha Area Youth
Orchestras and its assigns for the purpose of internal and external communications. Omaha Area
Youth Orchestras will produce and distribute internal membership lists strictly for the facility of communication between OAYO families.
Please contact the office and notify us in the event you do not wish for your contact information or photograph to be released for such purposes.

Discrimination and Harassment Policy

Please click here to familiarize yourself with OAYO's policy.

Grievance Policy
If at any time you feel you need to report something, have questions or concerns, please feel open to speak with the Board President.

Social Media Policy

When you use social media, use good judgment.  Avoid using statements, photographs, video or audio that reasonably could be viewed as malicious, obscene, threatening or intimidating, that disparages our staff, students, families and schools, or that might constitute harassment or bullying.  Examples of such conduct might include offensive posts meant to intentionally harm someone’s reputation or posts that could contribute to a hostile environment.


You must comply with all applicable laws including copyright and fair use laws.  You may not disclose any sensitive, proprietary, confidential, or financial information about OAYO. Confidential information includes anything related to OAYO's, strategy, financials, internal reports, procedures or other internal business-related confidential communications. 


A blog, wiki, chat room, or social networking site is not the ideal place to make a complaint regarding alleged discrimination, unlawful harassment, bullying, or safety issues.  Complaints to OAYO regarding these issues must be made consistent with the complaint process in the Code of Conduct, and OAYO will address them. Please contact us for questions regarding registering a complaint. 

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