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Make Your Music Mean More

BARS invites orchestral musicians to inquire about joining the symphony.

Our musicians and audiences recognize the high artistic quality and social atmosphere of the ensemble at our sold-out concerts.We have weekly rehearsals usually at SF State University on Wednesday evenings from 7:30PM to 10PM.   We welcome LGBTQ and straight musicians (approximately 20-25% of our members and 40% of our audience identify as straight). We have musicians from all over the Bay Area and provide carpools. Advanced and intermediate players are welcome. Please RSVP in advance.
If you are interested in joining, please fill out the New Player Form. We will follow up with information about position availability for playing and/or subbing, auditions and other information. 

NOTE: You can bypass this form and sign up for Oct 17 auditions for certain positions (section player clarinet plus several principal seats) on the Auditions page

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

You can download our rehearsal and event schedule for the 2017-2018 season (updated Sept 20, 2017).

Musician FAQs

Do you have to be LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) to play in BARS?

No.  We do not discriminate based on sexual orientation, and we are very hetero-friendly.  About 25% of the orchestra members identify as straight, and about 40% of our audience.

Do you have auditions?

There are auditions.  If you have more questions about auditions, please let us know, and we will refer you to the section leader of your instrument to discuss details.  We try to make the auditions as non stressful as possible.

When and where do you rehearse?

We rehearse on Wednesday nights.  Doors open at 7p, and rehearsals start promptly at 7:30p.  We rehearse at Room 153, at San Francisco State University, Performing Arts Building, 1600 Holloway Drive.  Parking during school session is very challenging.  The SFSU garage is about a 15 minute walk away from the building.  The M Muni goes about 2 blocks away.

Do you provide carpools?

We try to find people rides to and from rehearsals, but this is dependent on the availability of drivers to your particular location.  We do have people coming from San Jose, Palo Alto, the East Bay and the North Bay.

Are your wind and percussion sections full?

Generally the wind/percussion sections are full, but we are always looking for substitute players, and there are occasional openings.  We would like to put you on the list when auditions do occur for your particular sections.  Please fill out the prospective player form.

Should I just show up to a rehearsal unannounced for the 1st time?

It would be best to contact us ahead of attending any rehearsal.  That way the section leader of your instrument can orient you to our orchestra and our audition procedures.  If you want to attend a rehearsal without playing, just to check us out, please contact us so we know that you are coming.

How much are dues?  Are players financially compensated?

Dues are $50 per set.  However, we do want to have an economically inclusive orchestra, so arrangements can be made for people who can not afford the dues.  Dues for a new member’s first set are waived.  We are not able to financially compensate our players.  Most members of the orchestra volunteer in some way to support production of our concerts such as outreach, publicity, selling tickets, reception food, social etc.

When does your next set begin?

Our sets begin at various times throughout the year.  Please email recruitment at bars-sf dot org for current dates.

What is the dress code for concerts?

Black shirt, black pants or long black skirts, no ties/jackets.  Some people wear black dresses.  No leather above the ankles except for belts.

Do you have any age restrictions?

Due to our insurance, you have to be at least 18 years old.

Do you provide instruments?

In general we do not provide instruments.  Exceptions are percussion, and piano.  Periodically there may be a need for a particular instrument such as contrabassoon, or Eb clarinet, and we may be able to help you obtain an instrument.  We may be able to loan a double bass to you.

Do you need a stand for rehearsals?

Our rehearsal space at SFSU has stands.

How many concerts and rehearsals do you perform per year?

We usually have 4-5 main concerts a year, and about 6-9 rehearsals per set.

Can you miss rehearsals?

We hope that everyone make an effort to arrange their schedules to come to every rehearsal in a set.  Generally, we ask that players miss at most two rehearsals per set, preferably early in the set.  Everyone is required to be present at the dress rehearsal, and people are only excused from the dress rehearsal at the discretion of the conductor.  For non string players, if you do miss a rehearsal, we ask that you give plenty of notice if possible to your section leader and help find a substitute player for your part.

Where do you perform?

We generally have our sold out concerts at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.  Once or twice a year, we play in another venue.

What level does the orchestra play in?

We welcome professional musicians who do not need to earn income by joining this orchestra, professional quality musicians who work in other areas, and highly skilled advanced and intermediate players.

Do you play music exclusively by LGBT composers?

No, about 30% of the music that we play are by LGBT composers.