At the 2019-2020 UNA Honor Orchestra (November 1-3, 2019), select students will have the opportunity to perform side-by-side with the professional musicians of the Shoals Symphony Orchestra.

We encourage high school directors to bring their entire high school orchestra class, for we have two orchestras to accommodate students! All students who wish to participate will be given the chance to work with one of several prestigious clinicians.

How do I apply?

Teachers should send an initial email to Dr. Daniel Stevens at that includes the text ‘UNA Honor Orchestra’, name, email address, phone number, and student roster/instruments. Within 24 hours you will be contacted about audition options for students that are interested in being in the top Honor Orchestra. At the end of each week (beginning October 1), groups of students will be admitted into the UNA Honor Orchestra until the ensemble is full. Remaining students will be placed in the Festival Orchestra.

Individual students should apply by using the fillable form on the UNA Honor Orchestra website. If you have any questions, feel free to send an email to Dr. Daniel Stevens at that includes the text ‘UNA Honor Orchestra’, name, email address, phone number, and instrument.

Students who wish to be considered for the top Honor Orchestra will be accepted by audition and recommendation of their school orchestra director. Students are asked to supply a link of an online recording (YouTube or MP3 format) including one 3-octave scale of your choice and two selections from a 2019-2020 All-State Orchestra excerpt list.

Students will be placed into one of two orchestras:

  • + UNA Honor Orchestra – 50 students (plus perform with the Shoals Symphony at UNA)
  • + UNA Festival Orchestra – 60-80 students (perform on the Sunday evening concert)

The UNA Honor Orchestra weekend begins on Friday, November 1, and concludes with the Honor Orchestra concert on Sunday, November 3 at 5:00 pm.

Dress for UNA Honors Orchestra concert is the participating school’s concert attire.


Teachers and participating students will be provided with a sample schedule with an overview of the UNA Honor Orchestra weekend. Students will rehearse for 10 hours, eat food from some of the finest restaurants in and around the UNA campus, and have a few moments to enjoy interacting with UNA college music majors.

We are limiting the UNA Honor Orchestra to 18 violins, 9 violas, 9 cellos, and 4 basses. We have limited space since the UNA Honors Orchestra musicians will perform side-by-side with the Shoals Symphony on two selections on the afternoon concert Sunday, November 3rd.

The UNA Festival Orchestra is open to all high school students, regardless of ability, until the ensemble is full. We can accommodate 80+ students in this ensemble.

The UNA Honor Orchestra concert will be performed Sunday, November 3rd at 5:00pm in the Norton Auditorium of the UNA campus. This concert will be free and open to the public. In addition to the above concert, the top Honor Orchestra will be invited to perform two selections side-by-side with the Shoals Symphony Orchestra earlier that afternoon, Sunday, November 3rd at 3:00pm. Tickets will be available at the door.

The UNA Honor Orchestra requests that school programs (or the individual student’s family) provide transportation/buses and hotel cost/arrangements for their students. We also request that each student pay a non-refundable $20 registration fee (given back as dining cash upon arrival) to hold their place in the program.

The Shoals Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors is graciously paying for clinicians, music, most meals, and entertainment

Traveling School Programs:

The Shoals Symphony at UNA has negotiated agreements with area hotels. Students can stay 2 to 4 per room, dependent on the school preference, in a safe location near campus. We ask school chaperones to be available with your students. The Shoals Symphony Orchestra will have a point-of-contact available to each school director/chaperone.

Individual Students

For individual students attending the UNA Honor Orchestra without a school sponsor, the Shoals Symphony Orchestra will require these students to stay in the same hotel, and will be provided with adult resident assistants. We can also assist with transportation to/from campus with special request.

Hotels Available for Students

Baymont Inn and Suites: 256-764-5326
$65 plus tax - Mention SSO Honors Orchestra.

Residence Inn: Heather McCarley - 256-246-0462
$106 plus tax for Studio Suite - King bed and pullout Queen bed with kitchen.

Comfort Suites: Silka Mitchell - 256-246-2300
$112 plus tax. This is for two Queen beds.

Days Inn-Downtown
King Room $60 plus tax. Double $65 plus tax.