Be a Player: FAQs

Can I join the orchestra?

We are always keen to hear from those who might be interested in joining us! Joining us typically means a willingness to become a member of our society, though in rare cases (instruments that are less in demand) we might be keen to hear from you anyway, even if you’d rather not become a member.

Will there be a place for me?

There is always a place for you, provided you meet the minimum playing standard (see below). Unlike some other community orchestras, we don’t operate on an ‘available seat’ basis. Instead, every member who wants to play can do so, but in some cases this means sharing (either playing alternating programs, or playing half-programs). In practice this usually only happens for popular instruments like flute and clarinet.

What playing level is required?

There is no hard requirement as such, but your competence has to be such that you do need to fit in with the playing standard of the orchestra.

This may depend a bit on the section, for example, the standard for woodwind tends to be higher than strings. Other factors have some influence, for example, how “rare” is your instrument, how much orchestral experience do you have, and do you have “growth potential” (in other words: are you taking lessons?). The best thing would be to talk to other orchestra members you may know, or come to one of our concerts to get an idea of the orchestra’s level.

Do I have to audition?

This depends! The music director will first review all the information you have provided about your playing standard and experience. In particular: how long ago did you have lessons, did you do any grade exams (if so how long ago) and what other orchestras have you played in recently? In some cases he may be satisfied you will fit in and an audition won’t be needed. At that point he will try to fit you into a trial program (see below).

In other cases, there may be insufficient information to assess your level , and in that case you may be invited to meet the music director and play a little for him. This would be very informal, with you playing just a bit of music that you feel comfortable with, and a little bit of sight-reading. Many players don’t like auditions, and for them there is a back-door route: in discussion with BOP Symphonia (BOPS) you can take a few lessons with an established instrument teacher in town. The music director will then discuss with your teacher whether having you join the orchestra would be a good idea.

Is there a minimum age?

No, we do have some school-age players as well as adults and we welcome them. However, you would need to be of very good standard. In most cases, you would be better off playing in the Youth Philharmonic Tauranga (YPT), the town’s youth orchestra first.

The YPT and BOPS currently have the same music director, so he monitors YPT players in terms of suitability for BOPS as a matter of routine. Note that you cannot become a member of the BOPS Society until you are 18, but you could still play with us anyway.

Is rehearsal attendance compulsory?

We do expect our member players to come to every rehearsal (bar illness etc, of course), although we tend to plan our rehearsals as efficiently as we can, so wind/percussion players are not always needed. We do sometimes invite some non-member reinforcement players who only come to some rehearsals, but these are of near-professional standard and only play “as needed” (do contact us if you feel you might belong in this category!).

How do I become a player?

Come and talk to us first. You can email bopssecretary@gmail.com, or come to a rehearsal or concert. Once the music director is satisfied you qualify (whether or not that involved an informal audition), you will be invited to play a program (or sometimes a half-program) on trial, for which you will not need to be a member. If that trial concert works well, you will be invited to become a member by filling out a form and sending it to our membership officer (bopsmembership@gmail.com). The Committee will then give formal approval subject to your paying of an annual subscription.

What does it cost?

The subscription is set every year at the Annual General Meeting. Current rates per calendar year are:

  • Playing members: $40
  • Students and non-playing members: $20.