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2025 NOF Timeline and Guidelines

2025 NOF Timeline and Guidelines


Please Note: Applications are only considered fully submitted after the form has been completed, all recommendations have been submitted, and all items have been uploaded. Please read and consider the entire Guidelines and Requirements, available as a PDF below, before applying.


Application Timeline

  • Applications Open – December 1, 2023
  • Applications Close – April 15, 2024
  • Notify Applicants and Send Contracts – May 1, 2024
  • Contracts and Deposit Due – June 20, 2024

Application Review


Applications will be reviewed by a national committee of ASTA members. The committee will provide detailed feedback to all applicants at the time of application notification.


Notification and Contract


Directors must submit a signed contract and a $1,500 non-refundable deposit by June 20, 2024. These materials will confirm participation in the festival. The deposit will be applied directly to the group's package fees. If you have specific questions regarding notification, payment, and group pricing, please get in touch with us at asta@astastrings.org.


The minimum number of student participants is 16. Groups may increase and decrease their total participant number until December 4, 2024. After December 4, 2024, groups are responsible for the last confirmed total number of participants received by ASTA.


Cancellation and Refund Policy


All cancellation requests must be received in writing by September 30, 2024, to asta@astastrings.org. No refunds will be given on any payments made before September 30, 2024, but the remaining balance for your group will be waived upon written cancellation confirmation from the ASTA National Office.


ASTA is counting on your participation as indicated in your signed contract and may have turned away other potential participating ensembles. Groups cannot cancel their participation after September 30, 2024. Groups not wishing to participate after this date are still liable for the total amount due, and no refunds will be given on any payments already made. The remaining balance for your group will be waived upon written cancellation confirmation from the ASTA National Office. This cancellation policy also applies to all circumstances beyond the attendee’s and/or ASTA’s control, including, but not limited to, acts of God, war, terrorism, government regulations, disaster, strikes, civil disorder, or curtailment of transportation. If you have a unique circumstance preventing your group from participating and would like it to be reviewed for special consideration, please send, in writing, an explanation of your circumstance and include any appropriate documentation. Your request will be reviewed within 30 days, and you will be notified subsequently of the outcome.

2025 NOF Package Information

Overnight Package room number details:

  • Quad = 4 individuals per room
  • Triple = 3 individuals per room
  • Double = 2 individuals per room
  • Single = 1 individual per room

All Packages include the following:

  • One Professional recording of your performance
  • Professional photo of your orchestra
  • Commemorative banner
  • NOF Medal for each participant
  • ASTA Conference exhibit hall - try instruments and buy music and music supplies.
  • Participate in Conference sessions, including master classes, music reading sessions, education sessions
  • National publicity in ASTA digital and print media

Premium overnight packages also include the following:

  • One professional recording per student
  • One meal (breakfast or lunch) per each night of stay (two-night package = 2 meals)
  • Complimentary director and co/assistant director hotel and conference package (single)
  • Complimentary double rooms for chaperones (20 students = 1 room for 2 chaperones)

Package Details:

  • Package rates listed are inclusive per person.
  • Transportation (including ground transportation at the conference site) and parking is the responsibility of each participating ensemble.
  • Meals are offered on official NOF program days for all groups. We will provide details in November 2024.
  • One-night packages are available for Ratings and Comments groups only upon request.
  • Performance date and time are assigned in August 2024. Requests for time and date can be made however we do not guarantee any requests will be fulfilled.

Schedule of Important Dates for 2025 NOF

After your application has been submitted:

  • April 15, 2024: Applications Close
  • April 15 to 22nd, 2024: Applications are Adjudicated
  • May 1, 2024: Applicants are Notified

June 20, 2024:

  • Signed Participation Agreement
  • Signed Guidelines and Code of Conduct
  • $1,500 Non-refundable Deposit Due

October 1, 2024:

  • 25% of the Total Payment Amount Due
  • NOF Package Confirmation
  • Instrumentation, Concert Program, and Stage Form Due

December 4, 2024:

  • 50% of the Total Payment Amount Due
  • Rooming List Due
  • Student Waiver Forms Due

January 29, 2025:

  • Final Balance of the Total Payment Due
  • March 19-22, 2025: National Orchestra Festival in Atlanta, Georgia

2025 Adjudicators and Clinicians

Dr. Tammy S. Yi is a conductor-educator, string pedagogy specialist, and music education scholar from Los Angeles, CA. She is an assistant professor of music education at Chapman University, Director of Mariachi Panteras, and the orchestra conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic YOLA Orchestra. Dr. Yi is also faculty at the Colburn Conservatory of Music, teaching graduate courses in music performance research and pedagogy. As an international conductor, she has performed at prestigious international venues, collaborating with artists including Janet Jackson, Gustavo Dudamel, Ray Chen, Thomas Wilkins, and many more.


Dr. Yi emphasizes the importance of transformative social activism for young people in music, education, and the performing arts. She keeps an active conducting schedule, working with youth in El-Sistema orchestra programs, local school communities, and state honor ensembles. In 2024, she was the All-State Conductor for the Texas Music Educators Association. Dr. Yi presents her scholarship at conferences worldwide, including Oxford University, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and headlining the 2023 Texas Orchestra Directors Association Conference. Dr. Yi trains future music teachers in a social justice ethos so that educators can develop culturally and community-responsive pedagogy in orchestra education. Her research has appeared in music education journals, including Music Education Research, Update: Applications of Research in Music Education, and Music Educators Journal.


Dr. Yi's musical accomplishments in teaching, scholarship, and youth activism have earned her a number of prestigious awards. She was awarded the Innovation in Diversity and Inclusion Research Award, the Grant for Pedagogical Innovation, which led to the formation of the first collegiate mariachi ensemble in Orange County, and the Award of Excellence from Chapman University. She was also named a finalist for the 2022 Grammy Music Educator Award.

Margaret Selby is the orchestra director and 2020-21 Teacher of the Year at Laing Middle School in Charleston, SC. She was the 2022 Featured Clinician for the Orchestra Division of the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) and is a co-author of the Habits of a Successful Young String Musician books and a contributing author for Rehearsing the Middle School Orchestra. She has been a conductor for the Interlochen Arts Camp, the West Virginia Junior All-State Orchestra, and multiple regional orchestras in Texas and across the South. Mrs. Selby has presented sessions for the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, the national ASTA conference, the Texas Orchestra Directors Association (TODA), Arizona ASTA, and state music educator conferences in Ohio, New Mexico, Georgia, and South Carolina. She has adjudicated orchestras in Las Vegas and South Carolina, and she served as the President for the SCMEA Orchestra Division. She earned degrees in Music Education and Cello Performance from the University of South Carolina, studying under Dr. Robert Jesselson, and she is a registered Suzuki cello teacher. Mrs. Selby lives in Mt. Pleasant, SC with her husband, Chris, and their two crazy teenagers. She enjoys running and sampling Charleston’s many amazing restaurants.

Creston Herron is a highly accomplished musician and educator. He currently serves as the Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Kansas, and a faculty member at the Interlochen Arts Camp. He has guest-conducted regional and all-state ensembles in numerous states, and has served on the summer faculties of several prestigious music festivals.


Herron has received national recognition for his work as both an educator and musician. Under his direction, orchestras have won multiple national titles. He has also been recognized for his work in music education as Teacher of the Year at Klein High School, the Marjorie Keller Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award by the state board of the Texas Chapter of ASTA, and the Spec’s Charitable Award for Excellence in Music Education awarded by the Houston Symphony.


In addition to his work as an educator, Herron continues to hone his performance skills as a violinist. He has collaborated with artists such as Renee Fleming, Mark O’Connor, and Rachel Barton-Pine, and has performed with several orchestras and ensembles.


Herron is a talented and dedicated musician who has made significant contributions to the field of music education. He is an inspiration to his students and colleagues, and his work has enriched the lives of countless people.

Frank Lestina has degrees from Roosevelt University and the University of Illinois. He taught orchestra in Illinois for 33 years including Danville, Libertyville, and Vernon Hills.


The LHS Orchestra performed at the Midwest Clinic in 1991 and again in 1996. In addition, Orchestras traveled extensively, including three tours to Europe. VHHS opened in the fall of 2000 with Mr. Lestina as Fine Arts Supervisor and Orchestra Director. The string enrollment grew to 150 students in three orchestras in the first ten years. The VHHS Orchestras continued the tradition of travel including tours to China, Spain, Italy, and Prague/Austria. The VHHS Symphony Orchestra performed at the Midwest Clinic in 2009.


Mr. Lestina retired in 2013 and currently serves as adjunct faculty at DePaul University and VanderCook College of Music in Chicago. In addition, Mr. Lestina currently serves on the Advisory Board of The Midwest Clinic and moderates the New Music Reading Session for Orchestra. Mr. Lestina served as interim Director of Programming for the 2019 Midwest Clinic.


Mr. Lestina is a member of American String Teachers Association and was very active in the Illinois Music Educators Association where he served on the ILMEA State Board as the District 7 President for two terms.


Mr. Lestina is very active as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator at both the middle and high school levels. He also enjoys arranging and adapting music for string and full orchestra. Mr. Lestina conducted the ILMEA All-State Orchestra for the 2014 Conference in Peoria, Illinois. In 2018, Mr. Lestina was awarded an honorary Doctorate from VanderCook College of Music for his contributions to music education.

Stephen Lawrence-Carroll serves as the Director of Orchestral and Music Theory Activities at North Atlanta High School in Atlanta, GA, where his dedication to the arts extends to his role as the Fine and Performing Arts Department Chair. His remarkable contributions to education have garnered numerous accolades, including the distinguished title of Teacher of the Year for the 2018-2019 academic year and High School Teacher of the Year within the Atlanta Public School System. Stephen's passion and expertise have not only been recognized locally but also at the state and national level, with distinctions such as the Educator of the Year by the American String Teacher’s Association Georgia Chapter, the Atlanta Public Schools Fine Arts Teacher Excellence Award, and the prestigious Country Music Awards Foundation Music Teacher of Excellence Award. In addition to his honors, Stephen has been a prominent figure in music education conferences, sharing his insights at events like the Georgia Music Educators Association Conference, the Texas Music Educators Association Conference, and the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Conference. His dedication extends to serving as the State Orchestra Chair for the Georgia Music Educator's Association. Stephen Lawrence-Carroll holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Loyola University New Orleans and a Master of Music Education from the University of Georgia.

Sarah Ball has been teaching orchestra for twenty seven years, currently at North Gwinnett Middle School in Sugar Hill, Ga, where she is one of two orchestra directors. The NGMS orchestra program has 575 students enrolled in grades 6-8. The 8th grade orchestra was selected to perform at GMEA in January (2012 and 2024), and received the GMEA Exemplary Performance Award in 2009 and 2015. In December 2013, the NGMS Honor Orchestra performed at The Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic.

Mrs. Ball holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Appalachian State University. She was named the NGMS Teacher of the Year for 2011-12 and was selected as the middle school Teacher of the Year for Gwinnett County.In 2018, Mrs. Ball was chosen as the GA ASTA String Educator of the year and was awarded with the Elizabeth A. H. Green award by the American String Teacher’s Association in March of 2023. She is active as a clinician, conductor, and adjudicator, at the local, state, and national level.

Mrs. Ball started violin at the age of 10 in the Henderson County Strings Program (Hendersonville, NC) and currently resides in Johns Creek, Georgia with her husband Jerrod, and their cats, Topsy and Turvy.

Ed Zunic is presently pursuing his graduate studies at Case Western Reserve University. His current areas of interest are adult education and the SES of middle school musicians. With more than three decades of dedicated teaching in public school music, he boasts a wealth of experience as an educator. Mr. Zunic’s leadership roles include OSTA Middle School Camp Director and various positions within OMEA. Additionally, Ed Zunic is the cellist and arranger for the Columbus String Quartet. His original compositions and arrangements for strings and string orchestra are available from SMP Press, Luwing Music, and Alfred/Highland Etling Publications.

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