Instrumental musicians from St. Albans and National Cathedral School join together to create the Lower School Orchestra (Forms C-A/Grades 4-6), the Middle School Orchestra (Forms I-II/Grades 7-8), and the Upper School Orchestra (Forms III-VI/Grades 9-12).
The orchestras are primarily performance-based; the goal is for students to learn music, and learn about music, in the pursuit of performances held throughout the year. Orchestra members may have a wide variety of experience, but all should be able to play their instruments well enough that rehearsals are focused on ensemble skills (playing together in time and in tune, adjusting balance and establishing style) rather than individual skills (knowing fingerings, proper posture and hand position, tone production, reading music/rhythms). For the Lower School Orchestra, a student who can play relatively simple melodies with good rhythm and pitch is well suited to the group.
Students may also join the Percussion Ensemble and the Jazz Club Ensemble, and they are always encouraged to create their own groups for chapel and Cathedral services and special events.