Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a community orchestra?

A Community Orchestra is a musical organization made up of

Who are the players in the orchestra?

The orchestra is made up of people with different backgrounds and abilities.  They are people in the community who have an interest and ability to play an instrument perform in an orchestra.  Orchestra members are not professional musicians; they do not make their living primarily from their musical pursuits nor are they paid for their participation in the orchestra.  They may or may not have had some professional training and background in music, or may simply have taken lessons on an instrument in their youth, have gone on in life into other activities-- like raising a family or developing a career outside of music, and now wish to re-experience their love of playing great music.  

How do I found out more about playing in the orchestra?

Contact our music director or the Castro Valley Adult School.

Depending on our concert repertoire and existing instrumentation, we may not have space for you to play with us.  Generally speaking, string players (violin, viola, cello and bass) are more likely to find spots as there are more strings in an orchestra than other instruments (flutes, clarinets, etc.).  This does not mean you should not inquire!  We are always looking for instruments of every category.

How good do I have to be to play in the orchestra?

You should certainly have played your instrument before at a intermediate to advanced level, or aspire to play at a more advanced level.  A good way to see if you would fit in is to come to one of our rehearsals so we can hear how you play, and you can see if, with a little effort (practice) you can perform with us.  We generally play standard orchestra repertoire (Hayden, Mozart, Beethoven, etc.) but also are known to go out on a limb and play contemporary or less-known composers.  

You do not have to play perfectly. Your enthusiasm and passion for music is also an important component is fitting in.

How do I get in touch with the Orchestra Association?

We can be reached by email or

What is the relationship between the Adult School (CV Career and Education) and the Orchestra Association?

The Castro Valley Career and Education (Adult School) is the post-high school educational arm of the Castro Valley Unified School District.  The Orchestra is a class of that school.

The Castro Valley Orchestra Association is and independent California 501(c)3 (non-profit) corporation that works with the orchestra to

Can I simply make a monetary donation to the Orchestra?

Yes, we love donations. Since we are a California 501(c)3 organization, any donations to the Orchestra Association is tax deductible (see your tax advisor for any details!).  Donations to the Association are used strictly for the orchestra's benefit; renting music or paying honorariums to soloists.  Also musicians who would not otherwise be able to play in the orchestra because of monetary constraints can have all or a portion of the class fees covered by the Association.  

How do I get in touch with the Association?