FAQ

Why did you make another orchestra? Don’t you know the school already has one?

The official school symphony holds itself to a very high standard, and many college students who are interested in playing music don’t have the time or energy to devote to an intensive group. That’s where we come in. We’re a more casual group with an emphasis on having fun playing music together, while still providing music that is both challenging and enjoyable to players of all levels.

What are some other differences from the school orchestra?

  • We are conducted and run by students
  • Students pick the music we play
  • We don’t have auditions or turn anyone away

How much do you expect me to practice?

Practicing is not a requirement; we expect you to practice only as much as you need to feel comfortable with the music. We also hold several sectionals during weekly rehearsals where members can work on their parts at a more individual level.

What kinds of music do you play?

We are a pops orchestra, which means we focus on music from popular sources such as movie themes and musicals. We also perform some of the more popular classical repertoire. For a sampling of what we have played in the past, please visit the Music and Performances pages.

How do you decide what music you play?

The orchestra has a library of modern and classical pieces from which to draw. Suggestions for pieces to play next semester are submitted during the prior semester during rehearsal. The list is then narrowed down by the exec board based on what has already been played recently and availability of scores. After that, all members vote for the pieces they want to play.

Will transportation be provided?

We rehearse in the Desmond E. Lee Concert Hall at the 560 Music Center, which is on the West side of the loop. The Green Line bus goes there – you can catch the bus from Mallinckrodt at 6:35. We also have a carpool for the group. Please contact us at wupops@su.wustl.edu for more details.

There will probably be a lot of people of different skill levels in the orchestra. How do you keep it easy enough for the beginners, yet challenging enough to keep the experience players interested?

We try to purchase and perform music with a range of difficulty levels to satisfy the different skill levels represented in the orchestra. This has always worked well for us. Those with less experience can also gain help from our more skilled players during sectionals.

Do I need my own instrument?

Having your own instrument is preferable. Unfortunately, the music department at WU does not offer rental services. However, we do have very good relationships with local suppliers and can often subsidize the cost of renting an instrument from them.

Do you have section leaders?

No. The mission of WU Pops is to make orchestral music fun and accessible. Members are free to sit anywhere in their section, and we encourage switching of parts between pieces so no one gets stuck playing the less exciting parts. Our goal is for members to feel comfortable with where they fit in the orchestra, and to have fun playing.

How do you make the orchestra fun?

We understand that it can sometimes be difficult to keep rehearsals fun; however, we always try to keep them as interesting as possible. A lot of that is accomplished by playing music that everyone enjoys. In addition, the orchestra is conducted by and comprised entirely of students, so you’ll be playing with friends and making new friends in the group.

Every semester, WU Pops subsidizes group outings to the St. Louis Symphony and various other fun venues so members can get to know each other outside of rehearsal. We also have regular post-rehearsal socials with food, games, and fun times for all.

Who is running this?

We are an SU-supported Student Group. We have an Executive Board that runs the operations of the orchestra. We also have several student conductors who lead the orchestra during rehearsals and performances.

Is this for credit?

No. This is not a class of any kind. While we share resources with the Music Department, we are completely independent from them.

How can I contact you?

You can join our facebook fan page here and message the exec board officers, or you can email us at wupops@su.wustl.edu.