We have tried to answer the most frequently asked questions below, but if there is anything you’d like to know that’s not covered here, please reach out to us using the [Contact Us] form.

When does registration open?
Registration for the Pelham Music Festival typically opens a week or so before Thanksgiving.  Keep an eye on this website, our Facebook page, and Instagram for our “Registration is Open!” post.
When does registration close?
Registration for the Pelham Music Festival typically closes on the third Monday of December, though some years might be a little later. 
Is there a dress code?
Yes. Please dress appropriately for a formal performance. You should also be aware that Pelham Country Club has a dress code that precludes t-shirts, jeans and sneakers, and this applies to both performers and audience.
How good do I have to be?
There is no required skill level, but please make sure you are well prepared, and able to perform the piece you have selected.
Do I have to have a private teacher?
You do not.
What if I don't yet know what I want play?
That’s OK. You can register without giving us the name of your piece, but we do need to know by the last Friday before Pelham Schools break for the winter holiday so we can build the schedule. Don’t worry – we will remind you by email.
Can I play more than one piece?
In general, no, but we recognize that some of our younger performers play very short pieces. In these instances, two pieces are permitted as long as the total time is less than 2 minutes.
Can I perform on more than one instrument?
To allow the maximum number of people the opportunity to perform, we do not allow multiple solos by the same individual, although you are welcome to take part in duets and ensembles.
What instruments are allowed?
Anything you can get into the venue!
What about groups and ensembles?
We encourage them! You are welcome to perform in multiple ensembles.
Please also refer to the cost and ticket questions below.
I'm playing a duet with my teacher. How do I register?
You register as a duet, and enter your teacher’s name as the accompanist when you get to that part of the form.
How much does it cost to register, and is it different for a duet or small ensemble?
It costs $50 to register for a solo performance.
If you are registering a duet or small ensemble, the cost is still $50.  One person completes the registration online, enters the names of all performers, and makes a single payment.   Typically, families then split the cost between them.
Please also refer to the ticket questions below.
My child is playing in a school ensemble. Do I have to pay?
School ensembles are not charged to perform at the festival, so you do not have to pay for them – but you will have to purchase a ticket for each person coming to watch.
Do you offer scholarships?
If cost of entry is prohibitive, please reach out using the [Contact Us] form.  We do have a small number of scholarships.
Can I use/bring an amp or microphone?
We cannot provide amplification, and need to avoid trailing cables and other trip hazards. If you wish to bring and use your own equipment, please reach out to us using the [Contact Us] form to discuss the details and avoid safety risks.
How long can I play for?
Performances typically last between 1 and 5 minutes, depending on age and proficiency. Please enter your time accurately as we use these times to build our program, and ensure each session fits within its slot. If performers play longer than indicated, we risk the session overrunning, so please check your time before entering it.
What if I need accompaniment?
If you would like to perform with a piano accompanist, and do not have one, we can help put you in touch with somebody skilled at accompanying young performers. 
Why do you ask about NYSSMA? What is it, and do I need it?
NYSSMA participation is not a requirement, and many performers do not do it. We ask because NYSSMA level is one of the many factors we can use to help us put together a balanced festival program.
NYSSMA stands for the New York State School Music Association, and is the NY State unit of NAfME (National Association for Music Education). Each year, around 100,000 students participate in their Spring adjudication festivals, at one of 6 levels, from relative beginner to accomplished musician.
How long are the recitals?
The day is split out into 6 sessions, each of which is about 90 minutes long, separated by a short interlude during which festival alumni or other special guests perform.
Will I have time to rehearse before the festival?
Yes. The Pelham Country Club is available on the two days prior to the performance date for limited rehearsals from 3-9 pm. There is no sign up; just show up and play.
Are tickets limited to a particular session?
No. Ticket holders may stay for as many sessions as they wish, as long as seats are available. Seating priority is given to guests of that session’s performers.
How many tickets do I get?
Each solo performer is entitled to bring 2 guests. To make sharing allocated tickets easier for families whose children are in a duet or small ensemble, each of these performers may bring a single guest: 2 tickets for a duet; 3 tickets for a trio; etc. If you are performing as part of a school ensemble, your guests will each need to purchase a $10 ticket. These are available through our website at the time of registration, or at the venue on the day of the festival.
Do I still get tickets if I'm in a school ensemble?
No. School ensembles are not charged to enter Pelham Music Festival. Your guests will each need to purchase a $10 ticket. These are available through our website, or at the venue on the day of the festival.
Can we buy extra tickets?
Yes. They cost $10 and can be purchased through our website, or at the venue on the day of the festival using Zelle, Venmo or PayPal (or cash).
Note: Zella charges us the lowest fees; PayPal the highest.
Do children need a ticket, too?
No, we do not charge for children. Our mission is to encourage a love of music performance, and believe that children coming to support their siblings and friends – and being exposed to other performances in the process – is a great way to do this.
Do you mail me the tickets?
No. We just check you off our list when you arrive at the festival.
How many people will I be playing in front of?
Performances take place in the Weihman Room of the Pelham Country Club, which is set up to hold about 100 people.
Do I need to bring a music stand?
No. We provide these.
How is the day structured?
Pelham Music Festival takes place on a single day. The program comprises a series of 90-minute sessions of musicians grouped (approximately) by age and ability, starting with the youngest performers around 9am and ending with high schoolers in the 7pm session.  Between each session is a musical interlude by festival alumni and other local musicians.
When will I know my time slot?
We will advise you by email in early January, and ask you to confirm receipt.
Can I request a particular session?
We aim to group performers by age and ability, to create a balanced and mutually-supportive program. This makes it difficult to accommodate time slot requests but, if you have a genuine need, please reach out to us using the [Contact Us] form and we will discuss it with you.
Will you put siblings in the same session?
Unless your children are close in age and ability, they are likely to be in different sessions. To build a balanced program, and to avoid performers judging themselves against those older and more experienced, we group children by age and ability.
How early do I need to arrive?
Please arrive 30 minutes before your session is scheduled to start to allow time for photos, bathroom break, some deep breathing, a quick snack, etc. All sessions must start on time to allow such a complex schedule to stay on track.
What if I'm late?
Please plan to arrive 30 minutes before your session is scheduled to start, for the reasons noted above. Guests will not be seated during a performance. We have very little flexibility on scheduling and late arrivals risk missing their opportunity to perform.
Can I leave as soon as I've played?
No. Out of respect to all the performers, we ask that nobody leave while the recital is in session.
Will there be snacks?
Water will be provided to the performers. A limited selection of refreshments and snacks will be available for purchase at the PCC.
I heard something about a new style of photo this year?
Yes, after the long covid-induced hiatus, we want to make sure the 2023 festival feels extra special.  This year, a professional portrait of each performer will be taken by local photographer Liz Farrell.  We wanted to maintain the photo tradition but make it more contemporary and “instagrammable”.  The images will be delivered as a high-resolution digital download.
When will I get my photo?
Professional portrait photos are taken of each performer immediately after check-in.   After the festival, the photographer will work her magic, which takes a little time.  The beautiful images will be available in about 2 weeks.
How will I get my photo?
To view and download the high-resolution digital image(s) after the festival, you will need to log into the Liz Farrell Photography (LFP) website.  As part of the PMF registration process, you will be asked to give us permission to share your email address with LFP for the sole purpose of creating an account on their website.  We will then provide you with you log-in credentials, and detailed instructions on how to view and download your professional portrait photo.
Do I have to pay for my photo?
No. Photos to memorialize your performance are part of PMF history, and included in your registration fee.
How do you use photos and videos taken at the festival?
We will use photos and videos to help promote the festival and its mission to encourage a love of music among Pelham students.
Can I take my own photos or videos at the festival?
Yes, but please be discreet, and respectful to the performer and other audience members. Flash photography is NOT permitted.
Can I donate using Zelle, Venmo, or PayPal?
Yes! We love cashless payments, and are aiming to go completely cashless soon.
Note: Zella charges us the lowest fees; PayPal the highest.
Are all my payments tax deductible?
Donations made to the Pelham Music Festival, for which nothing is received in return, are tax deductible; your registration fee, and payment for any additional tickets are not.
Who organizes Pelham Music Festival?
The current PMF board comprises (in alphabetical order) Andrew Dolgon, Rose Horley, Colleen Maiberger, Josh Wallach, and Paula Wood. In addition, Maria Abeshouse, Anne Boorman, Amy Hersh, and Sheila Simpson continue to serve as music advisors &/or school liaison. Key volunteers and performance-order consultants include Jess Solomon and Ellen Weiss.
Bob Eicher is the festival’s founder and ongoing benefactor.

How can I help?
There are many ways you can help make Pelham Music Festival a great success, including just taking part! For more info on volunteering, please visit the [Volunteer] page. And remember – Middle and High School kids can earn community service hours through helping at the Festival.
Financial contributions are also very welcome. You can donate on the day using Zelle, Venmo, PayPal or even cash.  You can also use our [Donate] page, where payments can be made by PayPal or credit card.