Debut String Orchestra

Update 1/18/22:  Location and Time Change
Location and Time Change for January 24 and 31 rehearsals
Time:  5:00 – 6:20pm
Location:  Lake Washington High School | 12033 NE 80thStreet, Kirkland, WA 98033

Due to venue availability rehearsals for January 24 and January 31 will be held at Lake Washington High School from 5:00 – 6:20pm.  We will return to our regular location at Northwest Arts Center at our regular time 6:45 – 8:15pm on February 7th.

Update 1/8/22:
On January 7, 2022 we were notified by Northwest Arts Center that the City of Bellevue parks facilities will be temporarily returning to Phase 3 operations for indoor rentals and programs in response to the increased COVID-19 spread due to the Omicron variant. Effective on Monday, January 10th all indoor reservations at their facility have been cancelled through January 31st, after which time they will re-evaluate this policy and make a decision based on current COVID statistics. This means Cadet and Debut orchestras cannot gather for in-person rehearsal at the Northwest Arts Center at this time.

In-Person Rehearsals:
In-person rehearsals follow WA State DOH guidelines for schools including:  3 feet of distancing, no shared music stands, mask wearing and wind instrumentalists using bell covers.  We are watching evolving School District and State COVID guidelines and will make changes accordingly. Click here for complete BYSO COVID Policy and Procedures.

Rehearsals will be held on Monday evenings from 6:45 – 8:15pm. Musicians are expected to arrive and be prepared to rehearse 15 minutes prior to start time.

In-person Rehearsals Winter Quarter Rehearsal Time
Mondays* see above 1/18/22 Update Jan 10 – Mar 21, 2022 6:45 – 8:15 PM
Winter Retreat – Lake WA High School: February 5, 2022 12:30 – 3:30 PM
Winter Concert – Meydenbauer Theatre: March 20, 2022 2:00 PM
Rehearsal Location                                      .      Drop off/ Pick UP
Northwest Arts Center NWAC parking lot and street parking are
9825 NE 24th St, Bellevue available. Please plan on prompt drop-off to
Bellevue, WA 98004 avoid congestion as cadet families pick up.
Retreat Location (Oct. 23)                          Drop off/ Pick UP
Lake Washington High School LWHS parking lot and street parking are
12033 NE 80th Street available. Please plan on prompt drop-off
Kirkland, WA 98033 and pick-up to avoid congestion.


Debut String Orchestra is an advanced entry-level orchestra for strings. This BYSO ensemble is designed for progressing students on violin, viola, cello, and double bass who have 3+ years of experience on their instrument and some prior orchestra experience. The typical Debut String Orchestra student plays with solid first-position technique and has some early higher position knowledge.

Debut String Orchestra students improve their note-reading and rhythm skills while they become more confident playing as an ensemble. Past works performed include arrangements of Mozart’s Symphony No. 15, Bartok’s Romanian Folk Dances, and Spata’s Maharaja.

Student Checklist:

  • Submit your COVID liability waiver and vaccination status form – click here for form
  • Bring your face mask and bell cover (if applicable)
  • Bring individual music stand (no sharing stands)
  • Print your sheet music prior to first rehearsal (printable pdf’s will be available Jan 7th)
  • Arrive 15 minutes prior to the start of rehearsal to ensure you are in your chair and ready to play at the start of rehearsalWe will meet the reporting requirements to public health
  • Have fun!

Conductor: Mollie Ewing

Mollie Ewing is a freelance adjudicator, clinician, and conductor for school districts around the region. She holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree and a Master of Educational Leadership degree from the University of Portland. Mrs. Ewing taught orchestra in the Issaquah School District from 2001 to 2010 and is currently teaching orchestra at Risdon Middle School in the Renton School District. Learn more.

Contact Mollie Ewing at

Messages from the Conductor


Happy New Year, Debut Musicians!

Welcome back to our Winter session of BYSO. What a twist we have this week, with a loss of our venue and starting our first session virtually! That doesn’t mean we won’t be ready to dig into our music and get it started.

If you are new to us, “WELCOME!” This is a fun group of students; talented musicians and fun to get-to-know.

Everyone should refer to the following documents to help with each rehearsal:
Debut Practice Schedule Winter 2022
Debut Orchestra Expectations

Don’t forget to bring your instrument, music, pencil, and a stand each week.

Listening Examples for our Winter Program:
Allegro Presto: Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, I’m excited we get to play one of the first known classical composers of African ancestry and a contemporary of WA Mozart!
Under a Winter Sky: Yukiko Nishimura, a contemporary Japanese composer
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot: One of my favorite pieces to play and perform! Jazz variations of the traditional African-American spiritual arranged by Carrie Lane Gruselle.

Some helpful tools:


Our concert is coming soon!

  • Sunday, 11/21 at Meydenbauer Theatre, Bellevue, WA
  • Students arrive at 12:50pm in concert attire
  • Musicians 12+ Present proof of vaccination or negative COVID test (within 72 hours)
  • Concert starts at 2:00pm (Cadet performs first, followed by Debut!)


Mark your calendars! Our fall retreat will be Saturday, 10/23 at Lake Washington HS (12033 NE 80th St, Kirkland, WA 98033) from 12:30-3:30pm. Retreats are for rehearsing, but more importantly, for getting to know each other and having fun as an orchestra!

Seating Auditions: We will hold seating auditions at the retreat. Please let me know if your student will not be attending so we can make a plan for them to record and submit an audition. No prior noticed and/or no audition will result in being placed at the back of their section. Coaches will listen to students individually to help place them in the spot in their section that benefits the overall sound of the group. Students should make sure the spots listed below are well-prepared (posture/technique, bowing, tone, rhythmic accuracy, expression):

Violin 1:
Synergy, mm. 21-36
Variations on a Ground, mm. 33-37

Violin 2:
Synergy, mm. 13-21
Variations on a Ground, mm. 33-37

Synergy, mm. 13-21
Variations on a Ground, Pick-up to m. 41-49 (Solo)

Synergy, mm. 13-21
Variations on a Ground, Pick-up to m. 41-49 (Solo)
Spring, mm. 1-7

Synergy, m. 95-end
Variations on a Ground, Pick-up to m. 9-17


Thank you for participating in our Fall 2021 season. It’s so nice to be back rehearsing in person! Don’t forget to have your student bring their instrument, music, pencil, and a stand each week. They should also be practicing during the week and taking music to their private teachers for assistance.

Here are two important documents to help with each rehearsal:
Debut Practice Schedule Fall 2021
Debut Orchestra Expectations

Variations on a Ground

Some helpful tools:

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