Players Handbook



7:00 to 9:15pm every Wednesday (exceptions for holidays, etc)
7493 Old Mill Trail, Boulder

Musicians will:

  • Print and bring their own music
  • Bring their own stands
  • (Full orchestra members) contribute $5-$10 per rehearsal, to the extent they feel they can (tax deductible)
  • Show up in a timely manner, warmed up and ready to play at 7:00
  • Provide section contact, mailing list coordinator, and roster-keeper with full name, email, and daytime phone number
  • Coordinate with their section contacts regarding covering their parts during absences, and regarding last-minute communications (e.g. cancellations due to weather)
  • Generally help set up and clean up rehearsal space
  • Communicate to their section contact their commitment to performing (or not performing) a particular concert, within the first 3 weeks of a rehearsal cycle.
  • Within understandable family and work constraints, avoid missing too many rehearsals.
  • Members are also encouraged to participate in the King Soopers/Safeway card program to the benefit of FCO.


1. Our Philosophy

Flatirons Community Orchestra strives to be as open and inclusive as possible, to put as much “community” in “community orchestra” as we possibly can. We play for the love of making music together. We are very friendly, and we have joined forces in FCO to make a place that we feel is unique. Our organization and policies have been structured differently than other community orchestras with the goal of maximizing this inclusiveness and community aspect.

2. Structure

A. Symphony Orchestra

The Symphony is comprised of the traditional collection of strings, winds, and percussion. The wind sections will consist of the number of players needed to fill the parts required by the repertoire, with the possibility of doubling parts, at the discretion of the Music Director. Music Director shall be evaluated by the Board once a year.

B. Symphonic Winds

The wind group meets in an adaptable schedule as needed and agreed to by the Music Director. The mission of the wind group is three-fold:

  1. To be able to include as many wind players as we can, since there are often more wind players than slots in the orchestra.
  2. And, since the string parts in orchestral works are often much harder and more involved than the wind parts:
    1. this will give the strings time to work in sectionals
    2. to give the winds more interesting things to work on. In this way, wind
      players are not left sitting during rehearsal while the music director works
      extensively with the strings.

3. Membership

A. We do not hold auditions

Interested players should be referred to the appropriate section contact and may arrange to drop in on a rehearsal and discuss their interest. Wind positions will be filled as needed via an informal trial period wherein the player sits in with the section for several rehearsals and is accepted for membership upon agreement of the Music Director and other section members. We accept members of all musical backgrounds and skill levels. We also accept members that wish to rehearse in order to improve their skills, or “try out” orchestra, but not perform.

B. New string members

All strings are welcome to join the orchestra, at any time. To balance the string sections, we typically need more first violins and basses.

C. New wind and percussion members

All winds or percussionists interested in the FCO are welcome to join the wind group (if active), even if there are no open spots in the orchestra. We do not “overfill” wind or percussion spots in the orchestra but strive to find ways to include as many interested players as possible, through rotating parts, etc.

4. Governance

FCO is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

A. Board

The Board is the legal representation of the orchestra to the state. It serves as the governing body of the orchestra over all areas covered by the by-laws, including legal incorporation, the hiring of a Musical Director, and any changes to the by-laws. Board members can be nominated by any orchestra member and are elected by simple majority of the orchestra members present at the electoral meeting. This meeting is held once per year, and all board members are elected (or re-elected) each year. Our board is currently made up entirely of players in the orchestra. Individuals from outside the orchestra interested in becoming board members are welcome, they should contact an EC member to be included on the ballot.

B. Executive Committee

The Executive Committee is comprised of the Board plus anyone else who wants to volunteer to be actively involved by taking on needed roles and responsibilities, and includes the Music Director. All administrative roles are currently performed by the EC. In keeping with our commitment to operate on a lean budget, we will not hire an orchestra manager, though a volunteer intern would be welcome. The EC is responsible for day-to-day decisions and operations of the orchestra, and decisions are reached by consensus as much as possible. New members can be added to the EC at any time.

C. Sections

Sections in both the winds and strings are self-governing, and with the exception of the concertmaster, collaboratively decide who will play which parts. No sections have permanent principals without the agreement of the section, the Board, and the Music Director. The intent is to provide opportunities for players that they may not be able to find anywhere else. We encourage all sections to rotate parts for a single piece or concert, in order to create maximum inclusiveness. Any player in any section, who is qualified, should have the opportunity to play 1st chair, and that position should be freely rotated, subject to the approval of the Music Director. The Music Director also has the authority to ask anyone to play the principal part/1st chair for any specific piece or any specific concert.

A string player who is performing the role of principal for a specific concert can be credited as “Acting Principal” in the program at their request.

No one will be paid for being a principal player except the concertmaster.

D. Section Contact

Each section (Violin 1, Violin 2, Viola, Cello/Bass, Woodwinds, Trumpets/Horns, Low Brass/Percussion) will have a designated section contact. The duties of the section contact are:

  • Maintain current contact information for everyone in the section
  • Contact everyone in the section if there is a last-minute change in rehearsal (e.g. due to weather) or other emergency
  • Provide updated information for the roster
  • Provide list of names to the program editor for concerts
  • Help find and communicate with outside subs
  • Provide sub information with the designated concert coordinator

5. Concerts and General Schedule

We usually have one major concert in the fall plus a Christmas/holiday concert in December, and two major concerts in the spring. Our regular concerts are free. We know from surveys that our audience strongly values free concerts. Donations we receive from concerts are significant, and taking donations avoids having to organize ticket sales. The orchestra mostly performs classical repertoire, with a very occasional pops collaboration with another organization for perhaps a fundraising event. We are definitely a community orchestra, with many weekly rehearsals per concert (not a semi-pro group that convenes for a couple of rehearsals before each concert), but we have performed major works very successfully, and continue to grow and improve.

6. Finances

We are mostly self-funded and maintain a slim budget – we pay only our conductor and concertmaster. Currently the only “fundraising” we do is to participate in the King Soopers card program. We are looking into grants in the future. We all contribute $5-$10 per rehearsal, as we can afford, in order to support the orchestra. We play for the love of making music together, and acknowledge that this is our hobby, and that we should support it. We operate as cheaply as possible by printing our own music from IMSLP and bringing our own stands.

7. Member Conduct

FCO was founded on the principles of mutual respect and cooperation. Therefore, insubordination, treating others disrespectfully, and inability to work with other orchestra members, are considered reasons for possible dismissal from the orchestra. Dismissal will be decided by a vote of the Board, with the Music Director’s input weighed equally as a Board member.

PDF of 2019 FCO Players Handbook