conductor and youth orchestra onstage

The Hershey Symphony Festival Strings

Note: Festival Strings has completed their 2023-2024 concert season. The information below will be updated over the summer in preparation for the start of their 2024-2025 season in September. Please check back then or contact the director using the form at the bottom of this page if you would like additional information.

A Message from Andrew Kurtz, Hershey Symphony Festival Strings Conductor

We are very excited to return this year to our full-year format, offering an educational and enriching orchestral experience for students in grades 6-9 as a student counterpart to the Hershey Symphony Orchestra, which includes rehearsals and performance opportunities, including a performance with the Hershey Symphony!

We will be rehearsing most Thursday evenings from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Palmyra Middle School and will perform with the Hershey Symphony on April 26, 2024. Depending on the performance requirements, there may be a need for additional rehearsals, with details being provided with as much advanced notice as possible.  Students would be expected to consistently attend rehearsal, although with prior communication we are more than willing to work with students to participate.

If Your Student Is Interested…

There is no audition required, but students require a signature and recommendation from their school director or their private instrumental teacher. A signature from a director from the prior year is acceptable. Please use the link below, which can be shared with your student’s teacher in order to complete the signature page. There is also a Google form to fill out information, linked below.

In order to participate in the orchestra, students should feel comfortable with the following:

Grade 3 Music, which includes concepts such as:

    • Basic shifting
    • Rhythmic figures with sixteenth notes, dotted rhythms, and time signature changes
    • A variety of key signatures from 3 sharps to 3 flats.

There will be a variety of music that exposes students to a mix of styles and techniques that they can bring back to their own ensembles. We are on a very tight schedule and the music is challenging, so students are expected and need to practice diligently at home. Consistent and timely rehearsal attendance is also very important. You may sign up until September 30th, even if you miss the first rehearsals!

Sign-up and Payment Information:

Students who participated in the first half of our season in Fall of 2023 do not need to register again. Your registration and tuition payment cover the full year.

Parents / guardians of students who did not register previously: Please use the following link to access the digital registration page.

PLEASE NOTE: There is a $75 fee to participate, which allows us to purchase music, pay for facilities, and cover the expenses related to the ensemble. This is a prorated fee to cover the second half of the school year only. The payment link is located BELOW. You will need to fill out the Google Form in order to register your child, but you will also need to CLICK THE LINK WITHIN THE FORM OR BELOW to submit payment. This payment is due NO LATER than Wednesday, January 31. If tuition presents a financial hardship, please email the symphony at

Student Information Form (fill out)
Director Form (send to your school director)
Payment Form (to pay fee)

First Rehearsal Information:

Rehearsals will begin on Thursday, January 11, 2024, from 6:00-8:00 PM at Palmyra Middle School (Exact directions will be sent out before that date). Students may still sign up for the group until the end of the month of January, even if they miss the first rehearsals.

Rehearsal Assistants:

Interested high school string students in grades 10-12 are encouraged to enroll as rehearsal assistants, providing us with their musical leadership and assisting with tuning. High school students considering a career in music teaching will benefit greatly from this hands-on opportunity. Rehearsal assistants do not need to pay an enrollment fee.

Please reach out to me with any questions, I am so excited to begin working with everyone and making incredible music!

Andrew Kurtz
Hershey Symphony Festival Strings Director

Note: The Hershey Symphony is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination. Please refer to our nondiscrimination statement here.

If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Kurtz using the form below.