Academics > Ensembles > Symphony Orchestra

Symphony Orchestra

The Ensemble

Coe College Symphony Orchestra logoThe Coe College Symphony Orchestra offers a comprehensive ensemble experience for students seeking to develop their orchestral playing skills, expand their studies on their instruments, and learn exciting repertoire. The CCSO exemplifies the collaborative spirit of a liberal arts education by including music majors, non-majors, and faculty members. Orchestra members enjoy the opportunity to perform multiple times per semester in a variety of orchestral and collaborative concerts in venues on campus, off campus, and on tour. The CCSO prides itself on maintaining high artistic standards and actively contributing to the vibrant musical culture at Coe and throughout the community.

Our Director

The newest member of the Coe College Music Department faculty, Michelle Perrin Blair is one of 85 women nationwide to be honored as a leader in her field by the prestigious PEO Scholar Award. Blair holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Houston, where she became known for her premieres of new works and collaborations with both composers and soloists. Blair is in demand as a guest conductor and clinician, and she is well known for her extensive work with young ensembles, including the Houston Youth Symphony, the Texas region circuit, and Houston Ballet II. In addition to conducting, Blair maintains a busy schedule as a violinist, both performing and teaching, and she holds a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from Southwestern University.

Upcoming Events

Homecoming Showcase
Friday, October 16, 2015
7 p.m., Sinclair Auditorium
Arturo Márquez, Danzón No. 2

Fall Musical: Merrily We Roll Along (Dows)
Friday, November 6, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 7, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 8, 2015, 2 p.m.
Thursday, November 12, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, November 13, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 14, 2015, 7:30 p.m.

Fall Orchestra Concert
Sunday, November 15, 2015
2 pm, Sinclair Auditorium

Costa Rica Tour
December 29, 2015 - January 6, 2016
San José, Costa Rica

Solo Competition

Thank you for your interest in the first annual Coe College Symphony Orchestra Solo Competition! We enthusiastically welcome all Coe student vocalists and instrumentalists to apply! If you plan on auditioning, now is a good time to start talking to your teacher and working on repertoire. Please read the information below, and email Dr. Blair ( with any questions or concerns.


  • First Prize: $200 + performance with the CCSO on April 23, 2016
  • Second Prize: $100


  • Solo Competition Application Form (PDF)
  • If a student's application is accepted, he/she will be assigned an audition number and time slot. This information will be sent to the student's Coe email address, and it is the student’s responsibility to collect this information.

Important Dates

  • Application Deadline: January 15, 2016 (due by 5 p.m. in Dr. Blair's box in the Music Department Office)
  • Solo Competition Audition: February 8, 2016, 7-9 p.m., Sinclair Auditorium

Competition Rules

  • All Coe vocalists and instrumentalists are invited to compete!
  • Only current Coe College students are eligible to compete.
  • Each applicant must receive approval to compete from his/her private instructor or ensemble director.
  • Each applicant must perform one movement from memory; applicants who compete with sheet music will be disqualified.
  • Solo Competition Auditions are conducted as blind auditions and are adjudicated by a panel of faculty judges.
  • Solo Competition Auditions are not open to audiences.
  • The judges’ decision to award First Prize, Second Prize, and any honorable mentions is final.

Repertoire Requirements

  • One movement of a standard concerto, aria, or solo work for the applicant’s instrument/voice
  • 10-30 minutes of music
  • Preexisting orchestral accompaniment
  • **Vocalists auditioning with a piece made up of shorter (less than 10-minute) movements must perform more than one movement for the Solo Competition Audition.

Audition Requirements

  • Each applicant must check their Coe email for their assigned audition number and time slot; the applicant must arrive on time, warmed up, and ready to play.
  • Each applicant will perform one movement of a standard work for their instrument/voice for a panel of judges.
  • Each applicant is required to perform the entirety of this movement from memory.

The applicant must bring his/her own accompanist and three copies of their music for the judges.

Audition Information

New Student Auditions

Thank you for your interest in becoming a member of the Coe College Symphony Orchestra! Membership in the CCSO is open, by audition, to all Coe students. Auditions for new students will take place during orientation week (August 27-30). Audition schedules will be sent to your Coe email address; respond to that email in order to confirm your audition time. Please read the audition information below.

Audition Requirements

  • Two-octave scale (major or minor) of the student’s choice
  • Prepared solo (unaccompanied, from the classical or pop repertoire)
  • Sight-reading

At the Audition

  • Arrive 10 minutes prior to your scheduled audition time.
  • Arrive warmed up and ready to perform.
  • Come prepared on all repertoire with your own copies of the music (except for sight-reading).

Chair Tests

Students who are assigned to orchestra will perform chair tests during the first week of the fall term (August 31-September 4). Chair test schedules will be posted outside the Director of Orchestra's office (Marquis 208) on the first day of classes. Please read the information on chair tests below.

Chair Test Requirements

  • Two- or three-octave scale (major or minor) chosen by the adjudicator
  • Prepared solo (unaccompanied, from the classical or pop repertoire)
  • Two assigned orchestral excerpts posted at the link below (you must use your Coe email address to access, or the link won't work)

At the Audition

  • Arrive 10 minutes prior to your scheduled audition time.
  • Arrive warmed up and ready to perform.
  • Come prepared on all repertoire with your own copies of the music (including the two orchestral excerpts).

Orchestra Calendar