PYSO String Orchestra accepts talented middle school through high school musicians who show through audition they are ready for more advanced rehearsal and performance orchestral skills. Members learn to play with sensitivity and ensemble balance. Individual preparation of music is required. Professional musicians are brought in periodically to coach sectionals.

The PYSO String Orchestra was selected to perform at the 1996 and 2022 AMEA State Conventions and has performed at the Phoenix Country Day School, the Phoenix Zoo, the Chandler Center for the Arts, the Festival of Trees at the Glendale Civic Center and in Washington D.C. The String Orchestra toured and performed in Chicago in March, 2007.


Middle school through high school (placement based on ability level)

Ensemble Fee



Wednesdays, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
Excelencia School
2181 E McDowell Rd, Phoenix 85006


Bethaney Cross

Ensemble Music Level of Difficulty

Performs literature mainly at levels 3-5.

Apply Now

Audition Components


Unaccompanied Solo of your choice. The solo needs to be comparable to the end of Suzuki Book 3 or higher. Please perform a total of 2:00 minutes of music from the work. Please bring three copies of your notated music for the solo to your audition.


Preferred 3 octaves for Violin, Viola, Cello and 2 octaves for Bass. Specific scales will be sent out 1 week prior to the audition date for applicants that are interested in String Orchestra as their top orchestra. (If you are auditioning for Phil or SyO as your top orchestra please prepare the scales for the highest orchestra you are interested in only).

Sight Reading

Sight reading material will consist of one or two short selections, selected by the adjudicators. Don’t neglect practicing sight reading pieces you are unfamiliar with to help prepare for this part of the audition.

Best of luck in your preparation, always start slow and work with a metronome!!


Learn More!

Bethaney Cross

Bethaney Cross

Conductor, String Orchestra

Bethaney Cross received her Master of Music degree in Music Teaching and Learning from ASU in 2021 and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Viola Performance from Northern Arizona University in 2011. Mrs. Cross currently teaches in the Mesa Public School District at Mountain View High School where she is the Assistant Director of Orchestras and works with the Music Conservatory program. In 2018, she began conducting the String Orchestra with Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestras. As a PYS alumni, she is excited to be back and working with the young musicians of the organization. In addition to teaching, Mrs. Cross currently serves as the Central Region Chairman through the Arizona Music Educators Association. In 2019, Mrs. Cross guest conducted the Greater Phoenix Union High School Honor Orchestras. During her time in the Scottsdale Unified School District, she served as lead strings specialist for junior high and elementary orchestras.

As a music educator, Mrs. Cross strives to develop a collaborative learning environment amongst her ensembles and build a community of friendship while learning how to deliver a polished performance.

Mrs. Cross is a native of Arizona and currently resides in Mesa with her husband and four children. When she isn’t teaching, you will find her and her family out camping and hiking.

Entrance Audition Application

Apply Now

Have any questions?

Learn More!