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Orchestra Rules

(revised 2017)

  1. TITLE. The name of the Society shall be YORK SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (may be abbreviated to YSO).
  2. STATUS, AIMS AND OBJECTIVES. The aims and objectives of the Society shall be the study and practice of orchestral music to foster the public knowledge and appreciation of such music by public performance. The YSO is a membership society, has charitable status (registered charity number 515145) and is affiliated to Making Music.
  3. TITLES, OFFICERS AND COMMITTEE. The Society shall have
    1. A figurehead of renown, nominally a President or Honorary Life Patron or other suitable title
    2. A Secretary or Secretaries (officers)
    3. A Treasurer or Treasurers (officers)
    4. A Librarian or Librarians (officers)

    who shall have such powers and duties as assigned to them by the Committee.
    The affairs of the Society shall be managed by a Committee consisting of up to eleven members (a minimum of seven or 10% of membership, whichever is the greater) including the Secretaries, Treasurers and Librarians. In addition the Committee may co-opt (for the current season) any other person or persons it may think fit, but these shall have NO VOTE. The Committee is Chaired by one of its members, chosen by consensus among the Committee members themselves.

    1. Officers of the Committee, having been elected at an Annual General Meeting, shall serve in their posts for one year.
    2. Members of the Committee who are not Officers, having been elected at an Annual General Meeting, shall serve in their posts for three years.
    3. Elections to the Committee shall take place each year at the Annual General Meeting. Members whose period of office has come to an end may, if they wish, stand for re-election at that time.


    1. All arrangements and the management of rehearsals and concerts and control of expenditure and finance shall be in the hands of the Committee.
    2. A Conductor or Conductors shall be appointed annually and shall be the Musical Director(s) co-opted to the Committee as required but shall have NO VOTE. The Musical Director(s) shall be contracted to the YSO in writing. Re-appointments shall take into account appropriate notice periods.
    3. A Leader of the orchestra shall be appointed annually and shall be co-opted to the Committee as required but shall have NO VOTE. The Leader shall be contracted to the YSO with an appropriate probationary period.


    1. Orchestral Members: All members shall be elected by the Committee and any person desiring to become a member shall in the first instance apply to the Secretary. The applicant shall give such evidence of his/her musical ability as the Committee may from time to time require. Member applications shall be approved by the musical directors.
    2. Honorary Members: Professional musicians may be admitted as honorary members WITHOUT VOTE at the discretion of the Committee.
    3. Players will be expected to undertake any part at rehearsal or concert which the Musical Directors, Leader or section leaders require.
    4. The Committee has the power to terminate the membership of any member whose membership is in their judgement detrimental to the interests of the Society provided that members have the right to be heard by the Committee before a decision is made.
    5. Orchestral members shall be expected to undertake courteous behaviour at all times and to respect the decisions of the musical directors. Courteous behaviour includes timeliness of rehearsal attendance. Challenges to the authority of the musical directors shall be undertaken through a member of the Committee, usually the Chair.
    6. Members who shall be absent from the orchestra’s activities for a period of 3 concerts or twelve months or one programme season shall be required to re-apply for their continued membership thereafter. In the case of a planned absence, the individual circumstances will be taken into consideration by the Committee with a planned return open to negotiation.
    7. Patrons or Friends shall pay an annual subscription, as set by resolution at an Annual General Meeting, and shall be entitled to certain privileges, as set out in the season’s brochure, during the season to which the annual subscription refers. They shall not be entitled to attend any General Meeting of members unless they be officers elected under Rule 3. Corporate Patrons shall pay an annual subscription and are additionally entitled to a maximum of four free tickets per concert during the subscription season plus free advertising within concert programmes.


  7. SUBSCRIPTION. The annual subscription payable by Orchestral Members shall be as set by resolution at an Annual General Meeting. The subscription is payable in the year to which the subscription applies. Members who serve for a distinctly long period (historically forty years) become exempt from the subscription. Any distinct period of long service shall be rewarded at the discretion of the Committee with honorary life membership exempt from subscription.
    1. The Society may receive donations, grants in aid or financial guarantees.
    2. The income and property of the Society, whencesoever derived, shall be applied solely towards the promotion of the objects of the Society as set forth in its Rules. No portion thereof shall be paid or transferred directly or indirectly, by way of dividend, bonus or by payment of a professional fee, to any member or members of the Society.
    3. In order to facilitate the administration of the finances of the Society a bank account may be opened in the name of the Society; cheques drawn on this account must be signed by the elected Treasurer and one other official signature holding office at the time the cheque is drawn.
    4. In the event of the Society being wound up or dissolved from any cause, all monies standing to the credit of the Society shall be handed to some charitable society or association having similar aims and objects.


  9. REHEARSALS. All duly elected playing members will be expected to be regular in attendance at rehearsals and concerts and to advise the Section leader of illness or other causes which should prevent attendance. The Committee may, from time to time, make rules limiting attendance at concerts to those who have attended a minimum number of rehearsals. Section leaders shall advise the Committee of members to whom this applies. Members are expected to commit to rehearsal attendance and to recognise their own limitations in ability to attend or to play their instrument. Members are expected to commit to individual private practise to facilitate effective ensemble rehearsing. Members are expected to assist in the recruiting of replacement or deputising players for planned absences in consultation with section leaders and musical directors.
  10. BORROWING PARTS. Members may borrow parts for home practise under the following conditions:
    1. The parts must always be returned in time for the next rehearsal, especially where a deputy musician is anticipated to play that part.
    2. The parts, when borrowed and when returned, must be produced to the Librarian so that he / she may record the borrowing and return. Members must pay for new copies of parts lost or damaged whilst in their care. The Librarian reserves the right to issue only photocopies of parts to individuals who are at risk of damaging original parts.
    3. The music and properties belonging to the Society may be hired by other societies or responsible persons. All negotiations for the hire of music must be made through a Secretary or a Librarian.


  11. MEETING. The members shall be summoned to a General Meeting at the close of each season, on fourteen days’ notice being given by the Committee, for the purpose of receiving the report from the Committee, receiving and adopting the financial accounts, the appointment of auditors and the election of members to fill vacancies on the Committee, and any other relevant business placed on the agenda by the Committee. The annual general meeting usually follows the final concert of the season. The financial accounts may be presented only in draft form at the general meeting, to be confirmed at a later date following completion of the accounts. An extraordinary general meeting may be called at any time.
  12. ALTERATION OF THE RULES. Any proposed alteration in these rules must appear on the agenda for a General Meeting and, unless such a proposal is sponsored by the Committee, a copy of the resolution must be sent to the Secretary at least twenty one days before the date of the General Meeting. A two-thirds majority of members present and voting is necessary for the passing of such a resolution. The Committee reserves the right to preclude any resolution which might affect the charitable status of the Society.

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