An A+ for Orchestra

At the beginning of 2013, Orchestra had a mere nine members. In the past two years, it has won numerous awards, is nationally recognized, and has over 40 enrolled members at various skill levels.

Tina Huang, Orchestra teacher, is very proud of Orchestra for its hard work and many awards. “This year we participated in something called the Heritage Festival, and basically what it is is a friendly competition among orchestras throughout the U.S. and even in the world … we happened to get the highest score out of all the orchestras (the weekend we went). We received a rating of gold, the ‘Outstanding Orchestra’ award, and also an invitation to the festival of gold for the next school year,” said Huang. Orchestra additionally received a superior rating at the Southern California Band and Orchestra Association competition, which Huang labeled as “the equivalent of an A+.”

Huang believes the awards Orchestra has won can be accredited to the hard work students have put in. “(The preparation for orchestra is like that of) any other sport, you have to have repetitive practice for long hours, and we basically do that every day. Every single day we do warm ups and pick a couple pieces and just fine tune them and make them really good,” said Huang. Huang tries to bring all students, despite their differences in skill and experience, to the same level. “That’s why when we went to the competition we just did what we usually do in the classroom, and then people recognized the amount of work we put into it.”

Orchestra student and violin player, Lily Brown, senior, agrees. “We went in just for the experience, just because we haven’t done that many competitions. We didn’t think we would get any awards from it, so it was a really good experience. It really validated a lot of the work we put in this year. We really made an effort to keep the program running and strong, because just a year or two ago it was on the brink of collapsing.”

Although Orchestra currently has over 40 enrolled members, Huang encourages interested students to join. “I have all kinds of students in my class; music is a universal language, and so is orchestra. I want people to know that as long as they are open, then they can join and I can work with them, because I accept anyone from beginners all the way to advanced players,” said Huang. “Even though we’re doing a lot more competitions and we’re getting invited to play at weddings and things like that, it doesn’t change my vision for the program. It’s still for everyone.”

Nevnit Gill & Sam Ellison

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