Middle School
1900 Denton Street | La Crosse, Wisconsin 54601 | 608-789-7670 | Fax: 608-789-7975

Longfellow Orchestras


Our orchestra is a place for students of all abilities who play violin, viola, cello or bass. We play classical music, movie music, folk tunes, multicultural music, blues, rock, and more.  If you love the sound of strings and want to play a variety of music, join our orchestras!






Materials are available at our local music stores (Leithold Music, Old Towne Strings, or SSE Music).  Each store features easy online or telephone ordering and curbside pickup if desired!  Please make sure that you have all of the following supplies by the first week of school (September 1, 2021):  

Most materials are available for reasonable rates at our local music stores,  Leithold Music, Old Towne Strings, and SSE Music.  Each store features easy online or telephone ordering and free delivery to school if you are not able to get to the store.



Instrument rentals for our region are covered by our local music stores:  Leithold Music, Old Towne Strings, and SSE Music.  Each store carries a full line of high quality orchestra instruments and accessories that are backed up by a full-service repair department.  Beginning orchestra instruments usually rent from $20-35 a month, with the first year of rent counting towards the purchase price of the instrument.  Be sure to ask about their incentive programs!  

A limited supply of school district instruments are also available (rental agreement form & a nominal rental fee are required at the beginning of each school year term and each summer school term).  These school instruments are available on a ‘first come, first served’ basis to families who qualify for the free/reduced lunch program.

If your family already has an instrument or has purchased one online, we recommend taking it to one of our local music stores to make sure that the instrument is set up (proper bridge & string height/spacing), able to stay in tune and is easily tunable (pegs don’t slip/stick and instrument has four functional fine tuners), the bow tightens/loosens adequately, and that everything is in good condition & working properly.  Instruments that haven’t been set up or that come out of adjustment can make it more difficult or frustrating for a student to play – stop by a local shop to check your instrument’s set up for a great start to the school year!



Orchestra instruments are available in different sizes to best fit our growing students.  If you’re not sure what size you may be needing or what size instrument you currently have, please click here for more information and measuring instructions!




In our Longfellow performing department, each of our rehearsals, small group lessons, and performances are a graded part of our class:

Our orchestra will meet for rehearsal every other day (3 times per cycle) for 45 minutes during the school day as part of your regular school class schedule.  In rehearsal, all of the orchestra instruments combine to work on learning and making music together as a team.

Our orchestra small group lessons meet 1 time per cycle for 20 minutes during the school day.  In small group lessons, students receive individualized instruction specific to their instrument and skill level.

Our orchestras perform in at least three evening concerts each school year:  our Longfellow Orchestra Winter Concert in December at Central HS, the district All City String Festival in March at the La Crosse Center, and our Longfellow Orchestra Spring Concert in May at Central HS (dates for all performances/events will be listed in our orchestra handbook and distributed to students during the first week of school).



At each small group lesson, your teacher will give you an assignment to prepare and practice for next time.  Assignments may include exercises from our textbook, sections of orchestra music, or other studies.  Bring your instrument/folder home for practice at least every other day, as a portion of each lesson grade is based on your skill improvement (preparing and practicing leads to improvement)!  20 minutes of home practice every other day is our goal, although slightly more or less practice may be needed for students to prepare their assignment well.



Mark your family calendars!  Here are our Longfellow Orchestra performance dates for this school year (detailed info for students will be handed out to students in class & also made available on Canvas).  Students should wear concert attire and bring their own folder, instrument, and accessories for all performances (cellos/basses bring your ‘home/practice’ instrument).

  • *CANCELLED* November 17, 2021 ~ 8th Grade Large Group Orchestra Festival:  festival organizers have decided to cancel this year’s 8th Grade Orchestra Large Group Festival.  This will help us to put our focus on our first concert in December!  🙂
  • December 14, 2021 ~ Winter Orchestra Concert:  graded, daytime field trip & evening performance for all Longfellow orchestra students.  Students report to warm-up area at 6:30 pm (students, please use CHS Travis Street entrance), concert begins at 7:00 pm in the Central High auditorium.
  • January 29, 2022 – LAMFA 8th Grade Honors Orchestra Festival:  optional, for students at the advanced level by audition (prep starting in November, registration/audition due by December 1).  Student arrival at TBA, concert begins at TBA in the Logan Middle auditorium.
  • January 28, 2022 – 8th Grade Elementary Tour:  graded, field trip performances during the school day for 8th grade only.  Student arrival to Longfellow orchestra room at 7:35 am sharp for attendance/loading.
  • February 25, 2022 – 6th Grade Orchestra Festival:  graded, daytime field trip & clinic practice performance for 6th grade only during the school day at the Logan Middle School auditorium.
  • February 26, 2022 – WSMA Solo & Ensemble Festival:  optional, for students at the intermediate level (prep starting in December, registration due by January 13).  Student arrival time, performance time, and room will vary by student.  Held this year at Logan Middle.
  • March 8, 2022 – All City String Festival:  graded, daytime field trip & evening performance for all Longfellow orchestra students.  Student arrival at 6:00 pm (use main entrance on 2nd Street S., concert begins at 7:00 pm in the La Crosse Center main arena.
  • May 17, 2022 – Spring Orchestra Concert:  graded, daytime field trip & evening performance for all Longfellow orchestra students.  Students report to warm-up area at 6:30 pm (students, please use CHS Travis Street entrance), concert begins at 7:00 pm in the Central High auditorium.


We are looking forward to meeting you and making music together in our Longfellow Orchestras!  More information about our program will be sent out at the start of the school year (or summer school term if you are signed up) and also will be available on Canvas.  In the meantime, please feel free to contact us if you have any questions!

Ms. Jessica McDonald ~ jmcdonal@lacrossesd.org ~ 608-789-7670 


In person summer orchestra lessons will be offered through the La Crosse School District once again for 2021!  These individual lessons will meet once each week for 20 minutes for 6 weeks, beginning the week of June 14 and ending the week of July 22.  Registration for summer music lessons will be open online from Friday, April 23-Friday, April 30, 2021 and registration info/directions are available in the summer school course brochure.  Teachers will be compiling registration info and then contacting families via email with their summer lesson time and info during the last week of May.



LINKS (more info will also be made available for students & families on our orchestra’s Canvas page)

Practice Resources:

Instrument & Supply Purchasing Help:

Local Music Stores:

School District Related Links:

Local Orchestras & Performance Opportunities:

Cool ‘Just for Fun’ Videos to Explore:

Awesome Artists to Check Out: