Haley is in two orchestras this year and they couldn't be more different.
Last year she did Temple Classic Strings Orchestra and is doing it again this year. The conductor is completely child-friendly and very calm. The orchestra is very small (20 kids total) and they are all around Haley's age...8-11yo mostly. Rehearsals are an hour. The music is relatively easy to learn but not anything we've heard before. Last year, the kids didn't talk much to each other but this year there are some new kids and a few are very friendly. Haley's friend Natalie is there in 1st violins and sitting right in front of her, for now. The conductor moves kids around for different pieces and there really isn't competition for seating. It is a learning environment.
Haley is also doing PRYSM this year. This is a very large strings orchestra with 16 seats in just 1st violins alone not even counting 2nd violins, violas, cellos, and double basses. It fills an entire room. Rehearsals are two hours and include sectional practices with sectional coaches as well as the conductor with the whole group. The conductor was a top Philadelphia Orchestra violinist and is very strict and not very warm and fuzzy. He listed the Don'ts list for the orchestra and Haley was a bit taken aback.
Haley is definately among the youngest at PRYSM. Her violin teacher told her to expect to be at the back of the 2nd violins but the preliminary seating chart had her as the 4th seat in 1st violins. Seating is competitive so she may not stay there. They have seating auditions and the final seating arrangements will be made in a couple weeks. There are many, many kids closer to her brother's ages than her's especially in 1st violins. Haley caused a bit of a stir among the parents due to her seating assignment. The music is much more difficult but the pieces are more common orchestral pieces and Haley likes them.
I am amazed at how much her reading has improved since last year. She did well during the initial readings at both orchestra rehearsals and is doing a good job learning her pieces.