Frequently Asked Questions

What are the fees associated with the festival?

Visit our Fees Form page for the breakdown of the cost. 

How are students chosen for the Chamber Orchestra or the Festival String Orchestra?

Students will be placed in one of the two ensembles based on the nomination form submitted by their director. Fair and accurate orchestra assignments will depend on complete information from individual high school directors. The Chamber Orchestra is the smaller, more select ensemble, and the Festival String Orchestra is the larger ensemble.

Music for both groups will be sent ahead of the festival for preparation.  Members of the Festival String Orchestra will be given specific chair assignments, but chair placements for the Chamber Orchestra will be determined on festival weekend by a live performance audition on the festival music. The expectation for both groups is that students are very familiar with their festival music before they arrive. 

What is the criteria for a student to be nominated for the chamber orchestra?

Students who play in the Dorian Chamber Orchestra should demonstrate many of these skills and characteristics:

  • a beautiful, expressive tone
  • focused, reliable intonation
  • expressive use of vibrato
  • good bow control
  • ability to shift into upper positions
  • solid technical foundation
  • strong sense of pulse and rhythm


Here are the recent repertoire selections of the chamber orchestra to give you an idea of the playing level required of this ensemble:

2017
Traveling - Michael Kimber
Sospiri - Edward Elgar
The Evil Eye and the Hideous Heart - Alan Lee Silva
St. Paul's Suite: Jig - Gustav Holst

2016
Andante Festivo - Jean Sibelius
Concerto Grosso Op. 6 No. 4 in D Major - Arcangelo Corelli
Battalia - Heinrich Biber
Palladio - Karl Jenkins

2015
Five Variants of "Dives and Lazarus" - Ralph Vaughan Williams
A Gaelic Overture - David O'Fallon
Sinfonia. No. 104 - Joseph Haydn

What happens during the optional private lessons?

Students wishing to schedule a 20 minute private lesson with a faculty member are able to do so. Students who schedule private lessons will have opportunity for face-to-face, one-on-one feedback. It is assumed that a student who requests a private lesson will bring to the lesson some previously studied solo piece: perhaps a concerto movement, a sonata movement, or a movement or two of unaccompanied Bach. The fee for one 20-minute private lesson is $10. Seniors interested in attending Luther may use their lesson as their official scholarship audition, if they wish. No accompanist is required.

Students who play in the Monday morning masterclass are chosen from those students who take private lessons. If a student wishes to be considered for the masterclass, this should be indicated on their nomination form, and they should prepare a contest-level solo.

One or two students may be chosen from among those playing in a private lesson to perform their solos as part of the Grand Concert on Monday evening. Solos must be memorized to be considered, and the student must have the accompaniment music with them.

Are tickets required for the Festival Grand Concert?

No tickets are required for the Festival Grand Concert on Monday, February 12th. The concert is free and open to the public.

Where do directors and students stay during the festival?

  • On-campus, student housing may be requested by schools farther than 50 miles from Decorah.
  • Students will be housed in residence hall rooms with current Luther student hosts or in residence hall lounges.  Students should plan to bring along sleeping bags, pillows, etc. as well as towels and toiletries for their overnight stays.
  • The college is not able to offer housing to teachers and/or chaperones.
  • Commercial, off campus housing is available to directors and students.  In town, we have Country Inn and Suites, Fairfield Inn and Suites, Hotel Winneshiek, Comfort Inn and Suites, and Super 8.  Teachers have also had good luck with local Bed and Breakfasts and with airbnb.