Orchestra to present spring concert


Photo by Kristine Cho

Katie Whaley

Bows fly up and down in synchronization as the Chamber Orchestra plays a profound, quick-paced theme from Perseus. They practice with the utmost seriousness, as their spring concert is fast approaching and, soon after, they will perform in front of judges at a festival in Mexico, Mo.
From her podium, orchestra director Alison Schmidt has watched her students grow throughout the year and is proud of how far they’ve come. The students, she says, are not only able to play harder pieces of music, but they understand music more.
“I feel like throughout the year, the students have overall gotten better at musical expression, and really communicating through music. We worked with a few different clinicians this year, and they were able to take a lot of helpful advice and incorporate into their playing, including more intense dynamic changes and phrasing,” Schmidt said. “I am most excited about just performing in general at our festival. Performing is the most fun part of orchestra, and I love showing the adjudicators what we can do, and how hard we’ve worked all year.
Freshman Rachael Erickson is ready to perform. After weeks of practice, she believes the concert will roll over smoothly and her orchestra, Concert Orchestra, will receive a high score and lots of praise at festival.
“I’m excited to play our pieces because we’ve worked really hard on them. My favorite is Petit Overture, it had the best melody,” Erickson said. “I’m also excited [for festival]. I enjoy the atmosphere the festival has, where everyone in the different orchestras understand what everyone else is feeling, and I think we’ll get a pretty good score.”
Last year, Chamber Orchestra got a one, the highest score, at festival, while Concert Orchestra received a two. With such high marks, expectations are high for the string groups. Schmidt says she’s confident in both groups’ abilities and hopes for improvement from last year.
“The best thing about festivals is getting feedback from professional adjudicators. These adjudicators are professional musicians, music professors, composers, arrangers, and public school music teachers, and they really know what kinds of things to listen for. They are judging the students and their performance based solely on that one ten minute performance, so it is truly an objective perspective,” Schmidt said. “We build upon the things they tell us so that we can improve for the future, and we are also able to reflect on what we do well. It’s also nice to go to festivals so that the students can build relationships with each other. It’s much different than being in the classroom every day, but they are still learning in that environment and are able to gain experience by being in the presence of other musicians and schools.”
Likewise, bass player sophomore Brenna Cornelison wants to hear what advice experienced musicians have to offer for the orchestras. But, most importantly, she hopes the performance is one both Schmidt and the other players can be proud of.
“[I’m most excited for] getting to hear how others view our pieces, and if we’re able to, correcting the judges’ critiques,” Cornelison said. “I think we’ll get ones, just like last year. Schmidt does an amazing job of preparing us, and we did really well at the Battle festival, which is a good predictor.”
The concert is on Wednesday, Mar. 22, which will start at 7 p.m. and admission is free. This performance is a preview show for their festival pieces, which they will perform the next day in Mexico, Mo.
Have you seen any orchestra performances this year?