Attendance Policy for Members

  By Paul K Fox and Donna S. Fox


  1. Regular weekly attendance is a requirement of membership in SHJO.

  2. An orchestra is like a team - a group of musicians playing together on various instruments for a common goal - quality performance. A student's absence does diminish the effectiveness of the rehearsal and the overall quality of the music learning taking place. Inconsistent attendance promotes poor music achievement and lowers the members' overall self-esteem and group pride. 

  3. It is imperative that all students sign the attendance sheets at each rehearsal. Each student must sign their own name.

  4. Since the directors are responsible for the musical instruction, they alone will define, set and enforce reasonable and consistent policies concerning the scheduling of rehearsals, attendance and players' eligibility to perform in SHJO. At the director's discretion, privilege of membership in SHJO may be suspended or revoked at any time for failing to meet minimum expectations of musical growth, practice, cooperative attitude or regular attendance.

  5. Please email Mrs. Janet Vukotich at mdirector@shjo.org or telephone her at 412-341-5160 if you cannot attend a rehearsal for any reason (leave a brief message). With the exception of sudden illness or emergency, calls should be made or emails sent by Wednesday of the week the student will miss.

  6. Personal illness, death in the family, inclement weather and a school academic or music program obligations will be exclusively honored as excused absences for a student missing an SHJO rehearsal. In order for the absence to be considered excused, a written excuse signed by a parent must be presented to Mrs. Vukotich upon the member's return, with the exception of previously scheduled school music/academic events which should be submitted in writing no less than two weeks in advance. If you have emailed Mrs. Vukotich with the date and reason for your absence, a separate excuse note is not required.

  7. At the discretion of the directors, special release time may be granted for a serious family emergency or extended illness. Parents should contact Mrs. Vukotich or Mr. & Mrs. Fox immediately (412-341-5160 or 412-854-3459) for special consideration. 

  8. If extended illness, marching band in the fall, musical practices in the spring or other music/academic commitments dictate a long-term absence from SHJO (three or more consecutive rehearsals), students may be asked to take a sabbatical until full attendance can be resumed. At the discretion of the directors, a sabbatical student may be reinstated in time to perform in an SHJO concert as long as the member attends the Dress Rehearsal and a minimum of two additional rehearsals. A sabbatical player's position and benefits of membership in SHJO will continue as long as the directors approve the absences. However, members on sabbatical are not permitted to serve in the capacity of concertmaster or section leader.

  9. Sports, family trips, work schedule conflicts and all other reasons not listed above are considered unexcused absences. In addition, students who fail to submit written excuses are automatically marked unexcused after the second week of the member's return to SHJO.

  10. Except for illness, death in the family, inclement weather or school music/academic events, missing more than twenty minutes of the rehearsal is considered unexcused. Students who leave early or arrive late but participate in at least one hour of the rehearsal will earn a 1/2 absence. Any student who participates in less than an hour of the practice will receive a full absence. 

  11. Three or more unexcused absences in one season (fall or spring) may result in the student's suspension from SHJO for the remainder of the season and being prohibited from playing in the next SHJO concert. At the discretion of the directors, suspended students may be allowed to attend rehearsals and perform at special events. However, suspended students lose all seating rank and sheet music privileges (no refund of fees), and may be asked to return their music folder for use by a substitute player.

  12. The very essential practice immediately before the fall and spring concerts is designated as the Dress Rehearsal. Concert dress does not have to be worn for dress rehearsals. However, attendance is mandatory for the set-up of stage seating, the final practicing of bows, speeches, stage deportment, tuning and a complete, non-stop run-through of the music. Students who miss the dress rehearsal for any reason will be seated in the back of the section during the concert.

  13. Section leaders and the concertmaster are permitted to miss few rehearsals, regardless of whether the absences are excused or not excused. At the discretion of the directors, a section leader or concertmaster may be demoted for the following: a) more than two excused or unexcused absences in any one month; b) overall inconsistent rehearsal attendance; c) poor preparation indicating inadequate home practice; d) missing a dress rehearsal or concert for any reason.

  14. Students planning to participate in the summer performance tour must attend ALL rehearsals in May and June, barring serious illness or school music department conflicts. At the discretion of the directors, any unexcused absence or excessive numbers of excused absences may result in the student becoming ineligible to perform in the trip's concerts.

  15. PARENTS AND STUDENTS: If, after reading the tentative calendar included with the orientation materials or summer/fall newsletter and the attendance policies above, you are unwilling or unable to accept and abide by these conditions, please contact the managing director, music librarian or booster representative immediately to communicate your intention to quit the orchestra and return all materials.

  16. As soon as possible, mark on your family calendar the tentative schedule of SHJO (all rehearsals and performances). Rehearsals are from 10:15 am through 12:30 pm (except extended rehearsals, which end at 1:00 pm).