Salute To Youth – A Solo and Ensemble Festival

The Solo and Ensemble Festival is for all instrumental musicians (strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion, piano, and harp) age 20 and under in Cumberland County and adjacent counties.  Students may participate as a soloist and/or in an ensemble.  All students that enter will receive a voucher to attend Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra concerts.  Participants that receive a Superior rating will also receive an award, and the possibility of performing on a Fayetteville Symphony concert honoring the talented youth in our area.  A solo is one (1) musician with an accompanist (if possible).  An ensemble is 2 or more musicians, up to 12 musicians, with or without an accompanist.

Division Levels

Musicians will be divided into a Junior and Senior divisions according to age:

Junior Division – Age 14 and under or 8th grade and under
Senior Division – Age 15-20 or 9th grade and older

Music Levels

Participants may enter Junior or Senior division on six (6) grade levels designated according to music difficulty.  Each of the following levels will be open to any music student in Cumberland county and adjacent counties.

1 – Easy4 – Moderate Difficult
2 – Moderate Easy5 – Difficult
3 – Average6 – Very Difficult

Guideline to Determine Level:

Strings Guideline:

1 – EasySuzuki Book 1, Essential Elements Book 1, or equivalent
2 – Moderate EasySuzuki Book 2, Essential Elements Book 2, or equivalent
3 – AverageSuzuki Book 3 or equivalent
4 – Moderate DifficultSuzuki Book 4-5 or equivalent
5 – DifficultSuzuki Book 6-7 or equivalent
6 – Very DifficultConcerto Level (Suzuki book 8 and above or equivalent)

Woodwinds/Brass/Percussion Guideline:

1 – Easy1st year band
2 – Moderate Easy2nd year band
3 – Average3rd year band
4 – Moderate Difficult9th-10th grade band
5 – Difficult11th-12 grade band
6 – Very DifficultConcerto Level or College Level

Rating System:

The FSO Festival will use a five rating plan for judging all solos and ensembles:

I – Superior

II – Excellent

III – Average

IV – Fair

V – Poor

Rating ISuperior – The best possible performance.  Score = 96-100  
Rating IIExcellent – A performance of distinctive quality but not worth yof the highest rating due to minor defects in performance.  Score = 90-95  
Rating IIIAverage – A performance showing some accomplishment and promise but lacking in essential musical qualities.  Score = 80-89  
Rating IVFair – This is a performance that is weak and uncertain.  Score = 74-79  
Rating VPoor – A performance that reveals lack of preparedness and musical understanding.

Rating Sheets

The rating sheet of each performance will be emailed to the performer after the performances have been evaluated by the judges.


All students that participate will be given a voucher to attend a Fayetteville Symphony Concert.  Students that receive a I or Superior rating will receive an award.  Several students that receive Superior ratings will be chosen by the judges to perform their piece at a Fayetteville Symphony sponsored concert, honoring their achievement. 


While an accompanist is not required, we still strongly encourage all musicians to have an accompanist unless the performance piece is specifically written to be performed unaccompanied. 

Music for Adjudicators

A complete measure-numbered score for each ensemble or a measure-numbered solo for each soloist must be provided for the adjudicator.  Participants will be required to upload a scanned copy of the music in their application form. Failure to provide this music will result in a penalty of one rating lower.

Performance Information

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Solo and Ensemble Festival participation will occur virtually. All participants must record a maximum of ten (10) minutes of their chosen piece. In works that are more than ten (10) minutes, music may be appropriately cut.

Submission of your performance will require you to include a direct URL link to an unlisted YouTube video, Google Drive file, or Dropbox file in your application form. Please make sure that the settings of your video allow viewers with the link to view the video.

Festival Application Deadline and Fees

Solo Application fee = $20

Ensemble Application fee = $35

The Solo and Ensemble Festival application is now closed.


Featured Musician

Randolyn Emerson – Violin


Randolyn Emerson, violin, begins her ninth year with the Fayetteville Symphony (completing her first season under the conductorship of Harlan Duenow).  Born into a rich and varied musical environment – her mother was a member of the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir – Randolyn was singing for audiences by age two. After finding her mother’s old instrument in a closet, however, eight-year-old Randolyn fell in love with the violin. 

Randolyn graduated summa cum laude from the University of Utah with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music degree, having studied violin with Oscar Chausow, longtime Utah Symphony concertmaster, and voice with Betty Jean Chipman.  Her university experience included a six-week European tour with the university’s A Capella Choir, where she soloed both as a solo violinist and a solo vocalist with the choir in historical venues such as Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral, the organ loft (above the grave of composer Anton Bruckner) of St. Florian Cathedral in Linz, Austria, and Venice, Italy’s polyphonic St. Mark’s Basilica. By means of a generous scholarship, she also received excellent orchestral training at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, CA, under the tutelage of Maestro Maurice Abravanel, Artistic Director of the Utah Symphony for more than thirty years.

Relocating to North Carolina in 1988, Randolyn became active in many area orchestras, including the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle, Greensboro Symphony, North Carolina Theatre pit orchestra (25 years and counting), Tar River Orchestra, and the Raleigh and Durham Symphonies, wherein she served as each orchestra’s assistant concertmaster (and where she met her viola-playing husband, Paul).  For ten years, Randolyn was also privileged to be an extra violinist with the North Carolina Symphony.  Operas, ballets, choral oratorios, traveling Broadway shows, recordings of Robert Ward compositions, and even concerts with modern artists such as Rod Stewart, Regis Philbin, Bobby McFerrin and Clay Aiken – over the years, Randolyn’s played for them all.  She’s even made forays into fiddling, recording a CD with the bluegrass band Sweet Potato Pie and serving as a last-minute concert substitute with Lorica, the Celtic ensemble formed by WRAL-TV’s Bill Leslie.

Aside from music, Randolyn has put to good use her Master of Business Administration degree from Meredith College in Raleigh, NC, by establishingherself as a professional family history researcher and writer.  Her greatest joys, though, are always found in her faith and in her family:  sons Erik and Daniel and her always-supportive husband, Paul.


To Educate. To Entertain. To Inspire.

The Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1956 in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and is a professional, regional orchestra whose mission is to educate, entertain, and inspire the citizens of the Fayetteville, North Carolina region as the leading musical resource.  Praised for its artistic excellence, the Symphony leads in the cultural and educational landscape for Fayetteville and the southeastern North Carolina region.

The Fayetteville Symphony typically performs 8 concerts during any given season performing both at Methodist University and Fayetteville State University. Partnerships with other agencies include collaborative performances with Cape Fear Regional Theatre, chamber concerts at St. John’s Episcopal Church, as well as the city’s annual Independence concert with fireworks. The Symphony brings music to the schools and the community by performing educational concerts, as well as having its own Fayetteville Symphony Youth Orchestra, after school strings and summer music camps.

This organization is supported in part by a space grant from the BB&T Term Endowment of Cumberland Community Foundation, Inc.

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Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra

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Fayetteville, NC 28301

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