We welcome all musicians; however, at this time we cannot accommodate additional flutes, clarinets, oboes, and French horns. If you would like to join, please use the form below to request additional information or to join the waiting list.
Potential members should complete our membership form
and will be invited to join our Yahoo group
, which is our main mode of communication. Upon joining, you will begin receiving emails with information about rehearsals, concerts, cancellations, group opportunities, etc. In order to be an active and voting member, you need to also pay dues (see below).
We do not hold auditions for entry. We ask musicians to join us for a rehearsal or two and see if they feel comfortable with the level of playing. Seating is generally open with the exception of traditional section leaders such as concertmaster.
All standard orchestral positions are open unless otherwise indicated. As of this writing, we cannot accommodate additional flutes, clarinets, oboes, or French horns. Those players are welcome to contact membership
to join the waiting list.
Singers interested in joining the NIH Community Chorus can learn about membership here
While our affiliation is with the National Institutes of Health, any musician is eligible. Our membership includes people who work for numerous other government agencies, private industry, education, students, retirees; you name it, we have it!
For the 2015 - 2016 season, dues are $50. This goes to purchase music, rent rehearsal and performance space, and other expenses. Dues also cover membership in the R&W (Recreation and Welfare) Association at NIH. The R&W Association at NIH is our sponsor and provides insurance coverage, gives us our non-profit tax status, and confers other important services. In addition, R&W membership entitles you to tax deductions on your dues and rehearsal expenses (transportation costs, etc). In order to vote in our annual elections, members are required to be paid up-to-date with dues. Musicians who cannot afford these dues should talk to a board member, as alternative provisions are available.
We ask members to be as responsible and considerate as possible to the organization and its members and attend as many rehearsals as they can, especially those leading up to the concerts. Members are asked to notify a board member or their section representative when they know they will be unable to attend rehearsal. Members who cannot commit to attending the majority of rehearsals for a given concert should consider sitting out and rejoining when they have more time.
At this writing, we have three large annual concerts: one in December and two in the spring. In addition, we typically have a smaller and more informal concert in the summer featuring chamber groups composed of orchestra members.
We also have an outreach program that presents smaller, more informal concerts on an ad hoc basis. Some of our associated groups (such as the NIHCO Brass Ensemble and the NIHCO Celtic Ensemble) perform as part of those outreach concerts or as standalone concerts.
The main mode of communication is the Yahoo Group and its email list. Please check your email regularly, especially the day of rehearsals. We don't cancel or change location often, but contingencies do come up and at the moment there is no phone tree. We aim to communicate cancellations no later than 3pm on the day of rehearsal. Regardless, our rule of thumb is, “If you feel it is a matter of safety, stay home. It's better to miss one rehearsal rather than all of the rest of them.”
There are many details necessary to the running of an orchestra, and we always welcome help of all kinds. Please contact membership
Donations mitigate the costs of running the orchesta (space rental, music, etc). In addition, donations support the charities at NIH, which include the Children's Inn, Camp Funshine, and the Patient Emergency Fund. All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
We are very serious about music, but we also believe in taking a relaxed, low-stress approach. It is our philosophy that “Music is wonderful therapy—it should never be a reason for having therapy!” The NIHCO believes that music is a wonderful talent that should be shared with others. It brings great joy to many people. As Beethoven put it quite succintly, “From the heart; may it go to the heart.”