Welcome to Sacajawea Orchestra!

  • Sacajawea Orchestra Handbook
    Ms. Montgomery
    Room 105 – (509) 354-5431

    Welcome to Orchestra! I’m so glad you’ve decided to join the excellent music department here at Sacajawea Middle School. I hope that you are ready to work hard, play challenging music, and have a lot of fun! Please read over the following requirements and sign the attached contract. Don’t hesitate to email or call if you have any questions.

    All of this information will also be posted on the Orchestra page of the Sacajawea web site. Click on “Music” under the “Learn” icon.

    Students will earn a grade based on the following criteria:

    15% Ensemble Skills (5 points per rehearsal)
    10% Home Practice
    20% Quizzes
    10% Written Work
    20% Final Playing Tests
    25% Performances

    Ensemble Skills:

    Students are expected to come to Orchestra class every day with:

    • Their instrument (cellos and basses may play school instruments, but must have an instrument at home to practice) and rosin
    • Their folder, with their name on it, containing all of their music/books
    • A pencil (Not a pen—marks in music should be erasable.)
    • Their Sacajawea planner

    During rehearsal, students are expected to demonstrate excellent Ensemble Skills. Five points are earned for each successful rehearsal. Ensemble skills include:

    • Being in their seat with all materials when the bell rings.
    • Maintaining a quiet classroom atmosphere, so that all instructions can be heard.
    • Listening carefully and implementing any suggestions.
    • Raising their hand and waiting to be recognized before speaking.
    • Being ready to play at all times.
    • Stopping when the ensemble stops to avoid wasted rehearsal time.
    • Working out difficult parts in home practice so we can use class time effectively.
    • Being polite and supportive of classmates.

    Students who do not demonstrate good ensemble skills will not earn all of their ensemble points for that week:

    -One check mark in a week will result in a verbal warning from the teacher and a 5 point subtraction from their ensemble skills grade.
    -Two check marks in a week will result in a call home and a 10 point subtraction from their grade.
    -Three checks will result in an office referral and a 25 point subtraction from their ensemble skills grade.

    Ensemble Skills account for 15% of your final grade.

    Practicing at home:

    Students are expected to practice their orchestra music at home. Playing alone is a completely different experience from playing with the group, and an important part of a student’s musical development. It is recommended that students practice 5 nights a week, for 15-30 minutes. Personal instruments should not be left in the Orchestra room overnight. Students will record their practice in their Sac planners, and it will be checked weekly. (Go to my staff website and click “Important Links” for a great article full of practice tips!)


    Home practice will account for 10% of your final grade.

    In-class quizzes:

    Each Friday there will be a short quiz on a scale, exercise, or section from a piece. These will sometimes be played in small groups. There may also be written theory quizzes.


    Quizzes account for 20% of your final grade.

    Written Work:

    As part of this class students will be asked to complete journal pages. Students may be asked to write about their learning in class, a listening example, an article about music, a concert experience, etc.


    Written work accounts for 10% of your final grade.

    Final Playing Tests:

    Final playing tests are due two weeks before each concert. You will be given a list of excerpts from your music to record in the practice room during class. A sample evaluation form is included in this packet.


    Final Playing Tests account for 20% of your final grade.


    As this is a performance-based class, attendance at all performances is mandatory, for the following reasons:

    -Concerts provide an experience that cannot be reproduced in the classroom.
    -Performances are the means by which the skills learned in class are evaluated.
    -Playing in an orchestra is a group effort. The performance is weakened by every missing   performer. We rehearse together and we perform together.

    Part of being in an ensemble is dressing in a professional and uniform way, which allows the audience to focus on the music being performed. Concert attire for Sacajawea orchestra consists of:
    Top: black long-sleeved shirt (no pattern/logo)
    Bottom: black pants or floor-length skirt
    Shoes: all-black (no distracting laces/stripes/logos)
    Socks/Nylons/Belt: black
    If you need assistance obtaining black clothing or shoes please let me know at least two weeks before the concert.

    At the end of this handbook is a complete list of scheduled performances for your bulletin board or refrigerator. Please put the dates on your calendar.

    Concerts will only be excused in cases of illness, and I need to receive a note, email or phone call before the performance begins. Please note that choosing another activity on the night of a concert (soccer, dance, theater etc.) is not excused, even with a note.  Missing a required performance means that there will be a lack of evidence for certain standards that can only be met by performing in front of an audience. Make-up assignments may be required, but there is really no way to make up for the impact absent musicians have on the ensemble during a performance. 

    Performances account for 25% of your final grade.

    Orchestra fees:

    There is a fee of $10 to participate in Orchestra. This fee covers a department t-shirt. Please pay this fee online or in the book room as soon as possible.

    All music students should purchase an ASB card. They are $10.

    There are a number of school instruments for students who cannot afford to rent or buy one, but there are not very many and some are showing their age! If you need to use a school instrument please let me know immediately. The fee to borrow a school instrument for the year is $20. There is a $20 yearly maintenance fee for using a cello or bass during class. (This helps to repair damage due to normal wear and tear, and to replace bow hair and strings as they wear out.) These fees will need to be paid in the bookroom.

    Parents, there are a number of volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Please fill out the form on the back of the orchestra contract if you are available to help out.

    I am excited that you are here! I hope you will find Orchestra to be a valuable and fulfilling part of your time at Sacajawea Middle School and in years to come.

    -Ms. Montgomery                                                                                                



    7th Grade Performances 2018-2019

    7th Grade Winter Concert                 
    Dec. 10th        7pm, Sac Gym

    Winter Con (Assembly)                     
    Dec. 13th         9am, Sac Gym

    Solo & Ensemble Festival (optional)    
    Feb. 1st           Shadle Park HS

    6th grade/Sac/LC Concert                
    Feb. 4th           5pm tours, 7pm Concert

    7th Grade Pre-Festival Concert         
    Mar. 16th        7pm, Sac Gym

    Large Group Orchestra Festival       
    Mar. 23/24    TBD, Whitworth
    (The orchestra will perform on one of these days, I just don’t know which one until closer to the festival date.)

    Orchestra Awards Concert               
    May 19th         7pm, Sac Gym    



    8th Grade Performances 2018-2019


    Perform at Veteran’s Home              
    Nov. 7th          During school

    Veteran’s Day Concert                      
    Nov. 7th          7pm, Sac Gym

    Veteran’s Day Con                            
    Nov. 8th          9am, Sac Gym

    Elementary School Tour                   
    Dec. 4th/5th    Feeder Schools

    8th Grade Winter Concert                 
    Dec. 12th        7pm, Sac Gym

    Winter Con                                         
    Dec. 13th         9am, Sac Gym

    Lyon’s Club Lunch                            
    Dec. 18th        Lunch time, Sac Cafeteria

    LC Invitational (Dinner, rehearsal and concert)    
    Jan. 16th         Evening, LC Orch. Room

    Solo & Ensemble Festival (optional)    
    Feb. 1st           Shadle Park HS

    6th grade/Sac/LC Concert                
    Feb. 4th           6:15 rehearsal, 7pm Concert

    6th Grade Parent Night                      
    Feb. 5th           Evening TBD

    First Friday at Riverpark Square      
    Feb. 7th           After school, perform 5-7pm

    8th Grade Pre-Festival Concert         
    Mar. 18th        7pm, Sac Gym

    Large Group Orchestra Festival       
    Mar. 23/24    TBD, Whitworth
    (The orchestra will perform on one of these days, I just don’t know which one until closer to the festival date.)

    Orchestra Awards Concert               
    May 19th         7pm, Sac Gym