Northern Iowa Youth Orchestra

All ensemble activities for the UNI Suzuki School are postponed until at least January 2021.

The Northern Iowa Youth Orchestra (NIYO) with two concerts during the year, a tour and a side by side event with the wcfsymphony in April 2020. Fall 2020 has been canceled.


John Chiles, conductor


Advanced string, wind, percussion, piano and brass students in grades 9 - 12 (and at least age 14) by audition and who are members in good standing of their high school orchestra or band, if available.  Students in grade 8 may be considered at NIYO music director's discretion.


This is an advanced level orchestra.


Click here for online registration. Online registration is required prior to the audition date in September for all who audition and in January only for new additions.  

Auditions will take place on September 6 (September 13, if needed)  and January 17.   Auditions are organized by instrument in the fall and by first come-first served basis in the spring.  For more information, contact Cathy Craig at

Audition requirements

STRINGS (3 octaves)
2 major scales, 1 minor scale*
prepared solo pieces
WOODWINDS/ BRASS (2 octaves for major scales)
2 major scales, 1 chromatic scales*
prepared solo piece
1 prepared excerpt
1 pitched keyboard instrument sight-reading
1 snare drum sight-reading
PIANO (closed to further auditions for the 2019 - 2020 season)
         4 octaves scale ascending and descending in 16th notes at a tempo where quarter note equals 100 beats per minute.
Short excerpt from a baroque/classical/romantic solo work.
Sight reading
* Scale requirments
violin: Ab major, D melodic minor
viola: D major, Ab major
cello: D major, Ab major
bass: (2 octave) E major, Ab  major, 
Woodwinds/Brass: Concert A-flat major, Concert G major, Chromatic
Audition Schedule 
Sept. 6,  2019- Graham Hall in Russell Hall at UNI
4:00 Winds, brass, percussion
5:15 cello
6:00 Violin and viola
Sept. 13, 2019 (if needed) -Graham Hall in Russell Hall at UNI
5:00 - 6:00 any instrument
After September 14
Required written recommendation from individual lesson teacher or orchestra or band director and a late fee of $20 will be assessed.
January 17 - 5:00 - 7:00 (must pre-register to audition)  
for second concert season (spring 2020) all new members.  Fall members who auditioned and were accepted in the fall are not required to audition again in January.
REHEARSALS  -- Click here for schedule. Revised 1/29/2020
      • Graham Chamber Music Hall at UNI School of Music, Russell Hall
      • Dress Rehearsals - Davis Hall at UNI School of Music, Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center
      • Fall:  5:00 - 7:00 on Fridays except AllState Festival and Thanksgiving weeks with two additional.  String sectional at 5:00 on Dec. 6 in room 116.  Final Dress rehearsal 2:00 on Dec. 8 in Davis Hall.
      • Spring: 7:00 - 9:00 on Fridays beginning January 24, 2020.  Additional rehearsals with NISO and wcfsymphony will be noted as soon as they are available.
      • Students are allowed 2 unexcused absences.  (2 unexcused late arrivals count as 1 unexcused absence.)  Excused absences must be approved in advance and include only those events that are a mandatory school event.  You will be asked to submit anticipated absences at auditions.
      • Bring pencils for taking notes.
      • Cello and Bass students should bring rock stops.  Percussionists should bring their own mallet/sticks.
      • Complete list of rehearsals with treat assignments, will be available once audition results have been announced.
      • Students who audition in the fall are auditioning for the both concert seasons and will be billed for the full year (discounted price of $350) plus $10 music fee.  
      • Students who audition in January are auditioning for only the final concert in May, wcf side by side* and tour*and will be billed for partial year ($200) plus $10 music fee. *list of second semester performances revised 1/1/2020
      • There are no refunds once music has been assigned.
      • NIYO Goals and Policies, click here.


      • December 8, 2019 at 6:00 in Davis Hall at Gallagher-Bluedorn
      • March 5, 2020 in the Great Hall with NISO
      • March 7, 2020 at 7:30 in the Great Hall, Gallagher-Bluedorn with the wcfsymphony
      • April 29, 2020 Tour 
      • May 10, 2020 at 6:00 in Davis Hall at Gallagher-Bluedorn


Please refrain from wearing perfume or cologne to the concert.  If you do not own the proper concert attire and are unable to obtain it before the concert, please contact the music director.


    • OPTION #1: Colorful shirt, black pants or skirt (skirt must be below the knee or longer, black hose (black socks if you are wearing pants), black dress shoes; NO sequins/glitter/shiny decorations, NO revealing or low-cut necklines.
    • OPTIONS #2: All black (required for the wcfsymphony side by side)


    • OPTION #1: colorful solid dress shirt, black suit jacket is optional, black dress pants, black socks, black shoes.  You may wear a black tie if you wish but not required.
    • OPTION #2: All black (required for the wcfsymphony side by side)


Date: April 29, 2020  


  • Entire year: $350 + $10 music library fee (no fall only option)
  • Spring only: $200 +$10 music library fee
  • Invoices will be sent in the month following the audition. Please wait to pay any fees until you receive your invoice.
  • Preferred method of payment, check mailed to the address on the invoice or online banking account payment.  While credit card payment is offered as an option, check or online check is preferable to avoid credit card and banking fees.  Cash is also accepted but must be delivered in person to the cashier in Gilchrist Hall. Please have your invoice with you if you choose this method.   
  • Second semester only membership is available at a special price. 
  • Scholarships may be available.  Contact Cathy Craig at


NIYO specific emails will be from and can be sent to: or

Rehearsal notes and announcements may be posted here.


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