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2021-2022 Season Auditions

UPDATE DUE TO COVID-19: Auditions for our 2021-22 season will take place in spring 2022. Depending on COVID conditions, auditions will be by submitted video or will be held live at the Mitchell Park Community Center at 3700 Middlefield Road. We will determine how to hold auditions as we move closer to the spring. If you have any questions, please reach out to [email protected] If you want to audition ONLY for PRESTO PACO 5-day Camp, please go to the PRESTO PACO tab. If you want to audition for PACO or both PACO and PRESTO PACO, please schedule an audition by clicking the button below.

Audition Information

Entrance to PACO is by audition only; advancement is based on a set of criteria that includes musicality, technical ability, social maturity, and general attitude. Getting the most from your PACO experience requires a considerable investment of time and energy; for this reason, simultaneous membership in other youth orchestras is discouraged. PACO does strongly support each member’s participation in their school’s music program.    PACO has a relatively small number of openings in its orchestras each year. Every effort is made to place each musician in the orchestra appropriate to his/her level of ability and experience. Due to the orchestras’ intimate size, importance is placed on the student’s social maturity and the ability to interact well in addition to his/her musical ability. When all considerations are equal, continuing members are given priority over new members.      Most young players join PACO at the SuperStrings level and stay in PACO through high school, advancing through Prep, Debut, Sinfonia, and finally Senior PACO. Openings at all levels do occur, and more experienced players are encouraged to audition for placement into our “Top 3” orchestras (Debut, Sinfonia, and Senior PACO). Attendance at PACO’s annual Chamber Music Workshop in late July/early August is required of new members joining PACO as members of these orchestras.

Basic Requirements

Private Lessons

All musicians need to be taking private lessons on their orchestral instrument

Family Support

Family participation and support are required of every PACO member
New Members

For acceptance into the SuperStrings or Preparatory level, we look for many qualities, including:

  • A positive attitude

  • Good intonation and vibrato

  • Facility to 3rd position on violin/viola and 4th position on cello

  • Familiarity with several major and minor keys (up to 3 sharps – A MAJOR/f-sharp minor – and 3 flats – E-flat Major/c minor and for Prep level with tenor clef for cello).

  • Some exposure to ensemble or orchestral playing is helpful, but not required.



At the audition, we will ask for one 2 or 3 octave scale (your choice) and one prepared piece.     


More experienced musicians are welcome to audition for Debut, Sinfonia, and Senior PACO. Attendance at PACO’s annual Chamber Music Workshop in late July/early August is required of new members joining PACO at these levels. 



 We strongly suggest that you arrange to attend one of our concerts in order to familiarize yourself with our current string playing levels. Please refer to our web site for times and locations. You may also arrange to attend an orchestra rehearsal in order to become more familiar with our program by calling the PACO office at (650) 856-3848 or emailing us at [email protected]