Alabama Chapter of the

American String Teachers Association Presents:

2016 Honor Strings Festival
See the 2016 Schedule HERE

 Alabama ASTA announces the 2016 Honor Strings Festival on Friday, October 28th to Sunday, October 30th at Samford University in Birmingham.   Registration deadline is October 1st.  You may register after October 1st but a late registration fee will apply. After registration ends, music will be selected and emailed to students and teachers.  Students should learn and polish the repertoire by practicing at home and with their teachers.  Students may participate in Alpha Strings  (beginner ensemble), Junior Orchestra, or Senior Orchestra.

Samford University is located at 800 Lakeshore Dr. Birmingham, AL 35229

Solo and Ensemble Festival

During the course of the festival, students may perform a solo or ensemble piece for a judge in order to gain performance experience and receive comments.  An accompanist must either be brought to the festival or one can be provided at an additional charge.  To register for the solo festival click  HERE or visit the Forms page.

Financial Aid

Families with financial concerns can requisition assistance by providing the board with financial information using a form found HERE or in the forms page.  Decisions are made on a case by case basis.  If you are considered for financial assistance, we ask that you reciprocate by providing volunteer service during the festival as needed.  (manning the stack center, managing traffic, etc...)


Click HERE to register for the festival or visit the Forms page.

Who can participate?  Students playing at the beginning, intermediate and advanced levels are welcome. Students will be grouped into ensembles based on their playing abilities and teacher recommendation.

What sort of music will be played?  Conductors will select music to be performed for the concert which will be distributed to participants ahead of time. 

Where does this happen?  Samford University in Birmingham, AL

When?  October 28th-30th, 2016

How much does it cost me?  $75 (Students of ASTA teachers) or $100 (Students of Non-ASTA teachers).  

First student is full price, if additional students from the same family participate 25% reduction may be applied for 2nd and any additional participants.

Orchestra Placement: Teachers, please place your own students, based on the guidelines below.  If you are unsure about placement, please contact the Alabama ASTA president (Stephen Finley).  PLEASE NOTE: These are skill levels only.  They are mentioned only to give you an idea of the appropriate skill level for each orchestra.

Senior Orchestra
Generally Grades 8-12, Suzuki book 4 and beyond
Repertoire will be grade 3 and above

Skills and keys (In addition to those for Junior Orchestra): 
A Major, Bb Major, C Major, some vibrato, chords, 3rd and 4th positions, key changes, all finger patterns with frequent changes, bass 1/2 position and high G, cellos forward extensions.

Junior Orchestra
Generally Grades 5-8, Suzuki book 2-3
Minimum 1 year playing experience - no exceptions, please!
Repertoire will be grades 1 1/2 - 2 1/2

Skills and keys for all instruments: C Major, G Major, e minor, D Major, Syncopation slurs, hooked bows, notes on all strings, 1-2 and 2-3 finger patterns, backward extensions,  Students should be able to differentiate between 2nd and 3rd finger usage, i.e.e, in first position the 3rd finger for viola and violin on the d string will normally be used to play g, not f#.  
Cellists should be familiar with forward and backward extensions.
Bassists should be familiar with the D Scale one octave to 3rd position.   These skills do not have to be completely mastered, of course, as education is part of the festival.  This should give you some idea of the difficulty level of the music.

Alpha Strings
For students generally ages 6-10 who have been playing for at least 6 months.  Alpha Strings is an introductory experience in playing with others.  Students should have some experience in reading rhythms such as eight, quarter, and half and whole notes.  Students will rehearse simple tunes together and will perform them in an informal concert.  Alpha Strings will take place entirely during the morning of Saturday, October 29th.

Please note that this Festival is a NON - COMPETITIVE festival.  Therefore, the guest conductors will determine seating and upon the Festival staff's recommendation.  Be sure that your students understand: all decisions made regarding seating will be for the benefit of the ensembles, and ensemble members will be expected to abide by these seating decisions.

Please contact Stephen Finley if you have any questions – or would like to volunteer to help!

Click HERE To register online 
or visit the FORMS section on this site.

Stephen Finley, Alabama ASTA President