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Welcome to the Tate High School Orchestra!  The Tate Orchestra is a wonderful place to continue your musical journey on violin, viola, cello, or double bass.

Orchestra I-IV

The members of the Tate High School Orchestra have elected to be in this ensemble.  By choosing to participate in orchestra, the student makes the commitment to demonstrate behavior, attitude, and skills that contribute to the continued excellence of the group, as well as his/her personal growth.  Students and families understand that the nature of a performing arts class involves periodic rehearsals and performances outside of school hours, and at various locations. 

Honors Orchestra V and Orchestra VI

Honors students are selected by the director.  Honors students need to have a strong aptitude for their instrument and a high level of participation and interest.  Additional projects such as performing and tutoring) are involved that take place off campus and outside of regular school hours.  Parent/guardian approval is required.

  1. Middle School Orchestra 6-8*
  2. Vibrato
  3. D, G, C major scales and arpeggios, 2 octaves.
  4. Violin/ Viola: 3rd position
  5. Cello/ Bass: 3rd and 4th positions

Tate does not offer string instruction on the beginning level.  Students entering the high school orchestra program should already use the correct playing posture, appropriate and courteous rehearsal behavior, and consistent practice habits.  Students are expected to continue these established practices and put forth their best effort each day to improve, because they have made a commitment to the development of the group and themselves. 

*Incoming freshmen need to have a brief audition the first week of school (or before, by appointment) in order to insure that the orchestra class will be the right fit for them. They should be prepared with 2 scales, and a piece of their choice that best shows their skills.

Orchestra Supplies
  • The students are responsible to keep all music they receive in a neat and organized folder.  Missing music will result in a loss of points for the daily rehearsal grade and/or a seating change..
  • All instruments are expected to be a natural wood finish, in excellent playing condition.
  • All students are expected to have rosin, cleaning cloths, pencils, good strings, wire music stand with carrying case, and a metronome/tuner. (This can be downloaded as an app on their phone.)
  • Orchestra Book:  Expressive Techniques for Orchestra for their instrument 

Students need to have this by August 19.

  • Concert uniform for school and ECYO concerts.
  • Violin/Viola only:  A Kun, Wolf, Everest, Sumi,  or Bon Musica shoulder rest
  • Cello:  Strap style endpin stop.  This needs to be labelled clearly with the student’s name, and they need to bring it to class daily.
  • Double Bass:  Endpin stop for all concerts.
Partnership with the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra

We are fortunate to have been chosen by the PSO as an educational partner.  As a result, the students benefit from frequent coaching sessions by symphony members. This is a terrific opportunity for our students, at no extra cost!  The support of many donors and businesses in our community have made this partnership a reality.  These sessions are most often after school or in the evening, and will be announced ahead of time.  It is expected that the Tate Orchestra students attend these sessions, as the instruction is highly detailed and specific, and difficult to completely replicate.


District Orchestra MPA:  Here in Escambia County for the first time!  Congratulations, Tate Orchestra for straight “Superior” ratings!


State Orchestra MPA:  We are thrilled to announce that the Tate Orchestra earned straight “Superior” ratings at the Orchestra State MPA in Tampa on April 13.  The students worked diligently, and benefited from periodic coaching from our Pensacola Symphony members as a result of our partnership with the PSO.  This was our first time an individual high school orchestra from Escambia County participated in the State MPA.  Congratulations to the Tate Orchestra for their hard work and dedication!

Concert Uniform

For our school and ECYO performances, girls will wear a black floor length orchestra dress.  Boys will wear a uniform black dress shirt and black dress pants, and a tie in our Tate scarlet red.  I will be placing an order for all the uniform items so that our uniforms stay uniform and so that I can get the best possible price  All Orchestra Members:  Please try on your orchestra uniform to make sure it still fits.  Now is the time to place your order so that you have a well-fitting uniform for our concerts.


Girls Uniform Boys Uniform
Oratorio Dress $75 (prices includes s/h)

Orchestra Shirt $20

  Dress pants $20
  Tate tie $15


Please complete the sizing options carefully on the uniform order. Double-check measurements!   Be sure to include a contact phone number in case I need to clarify any detail when I place the order.  Dresses and pants arrive unhemmed, and it will be the responsibility of each student to get their uniform hemmed.

Order forms with uniform payment are due Friday September 2.

Payment options:

  • Pay in full with check or cash when you bring your order form.  Make checks out to Tate High.
  • Pay at least a 50% deposit when you bring your order form.  The balance must then be paid in order to receive your uniform when it arrives.
Escambia County Youth Orchestra

The Escambia County Youth Orchestra is an extension of our orchestra class.  Participation is required, and is factored into each student’s orchestra grade.  Each student is to participate fully in all scheduled rehearsals and performances.  Auditions each semester will determine which of the 3 ECYO groups the student will play in, as well as the seating within that group.

Your student will audition into one of the following ECYO orchestras:

Beethoven Orchestra*

Wolfgang Orchestra   Amadeus Orchestra

Top level sophomores, juniors, and seniors may also play in Switched on Baroque, in addition to their auditioned orchestra (above)

Switched on Baroque is an elective ensemble that rehearses from 8:00-8:30 following every ECYO rehearsal.  Members obtain their own historical period costume (circa 1700’s-1800’s).  Once accepted into Switched on Baroque, the students remain in the ensemble for the rest of the year.  To join Switched on Baroque, the student must have a strong ECYO audition, as well as a positive reference from their school orchestra director.

*Students whose audition places them in the top “Beethoven” group are the members who will also participate in the All-County Orchestra which continue Monday night rehearsals according to the current All-County schedule in preparation for the All-County January concert.  This is a high honor, and is always a very valuable, memorable experience.  Please review the attached schedule carefully.  If a student is not able to commit to the All-County rehearsals and performance, he/she must let their school orchestra teacher know prior to the fall auditions, so that they are NOT placed in the Beethoven orchestra.

Contact Us
  Catherine McConnell (850) 937-5650 Itinerant Orchestra Instructor