The Stivers School for the Arts Orchestra Magnet is a dynamic college preparatory program in which young musicians develop as soloists and members of small and large ensembles. The core of our program is classical music but our goal is to graduate independent, expressive, and versatile musicians prepared for music study at universities and conservatories and who also have a solid technical foundation that allows them to be lifelong musicians prepared to play in many different genres.

To achieve these goals, Orchestra musicians have weekly instruction from outstanding professional musicians and are expected to perform at the highest level both academically and artistically. They demonstrate their professional accomplishments in four concerts per year, semester recitals, and in the Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) solo and ensemble and large group adjudicated events.

In addition, orchestra musicians are encouraged to participate in outside activities. These include the Dayton Philharmonic Youth Strings Orchestra and Youth Orchestra, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra Concerto Competition, the Muse Machine Pit Orchestra, the Ohio University Honors Orchestra, the OMEA Southwest Regional Orchestra, summer music camps, and area community theater orchestras.

One of the unique aspects of the Orchestra Magnet is the multi-age mentoring that happens among student musicians. They help each other and develop strong peer relationships.

There are three performance groups based upon skill progression: Entry Level, Chamber Orchestra (string orchestra), and the Philharmonic Orchestra (symphony orchestra). In addition, there are chamber ensembles, which are groups of three to six students. These ensembles perform both within and outside of school. We have two string quartets that regularly perform throughout the community.

Stivers Orchestra graduates have attended colleges and universities such as Oberlin, Baldwin Wallace College, Butler University, University of Dayton, Ohio State University, Vanderbilt, University of Colorado, University of Denver, University of Colorado, University of Illinois, Ohio University, Miami University (Ohio), and Bowling Green University, among others.

Instruments are available for student use while in the Orchestra Magnet, and all students are required to pay an orchestra magnet fee.

For more information, contact Ms. Ashley Emmons, Orchestra Magnet Director, at amemmons@daytonpublic.com or (937) 542-7439.

Magnet Fees

Magnet fees for the Orchestra Magnet fund the following:

  • Sheet music
  • Music Supplies (rosin, strings, rock stops, shoulder rests, reeds, mallets, etc.)
  • Instrument repairs and replacement
  • Concert tickets to performances (field trips)
  • Uniforms (concert attire)
  • Transportation to competitions and field trips
  • Competition fees
  • Guest performers and masterclasses

Full-time Faculty
Ashley Emmons, Orchestra Magnet Director
Michael Mangan, DMA, Philharmonic Orchestra Director Emeritus

Applied Orchestra Music Faculty

Dona Nouné, Violin

K. Frazier Robinson, Violin

Mark Reis, Viola

Mark Hofeldt, Cello

Nan Watson, Cello

Nick Greenberg, Bass

Dr. Michael Mangan, Orchestra Director Emeritus 


Click here for more information about Orchestra auditions Grade 7. 

Click here for more information about Orchestra auditions Grades 8-12. 

OMEA Rating Scale

Rating I -An outstanding performance with very few technical errors and exemplifying a truly musical expression

Rating II- An unusual performance in many respects but not worthy of the highest rating due to minor defects in performance, ineffective interpretation or improper instrumentation.

Rating III- An acceptable performance showing accomplishment and marked promise, but lacking in one or more essential qualities.

Rating IV- Poor performance- Showing many technical errors, poor musical conception