By MARCELLA DECOUD
On Wednesday April 1 and Thursday April 2, the University High School (UHS) Band Program hosted the 19th Annual Band and Orchestra festival run by the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association (SCSBOA). SCSBOA is a nonprofit-organization that helps students develop a greater appreciation of music and gathers school orchestras around Orange County to receive feedback on their performances.
The orchestras are judged by three adjudicators on various aspects of their performance, including music tone, juxtaposition and difficulty of music. Each group prepares two to three pieces and then sight reads a piece that is one level below the level of the pieces it prepared.
The UHS Symphonic Band, String Orchestra and Concert Orchestra participated in this festival in addition to orchestras from various middle schools and high schools, including Lakeside Middle School, Jeffrey Trail Middle School and Fountain Valley High School. The Symphonic Band performed Simple Gift by Frank Ticheli, O Nata Lux by Guy Forbes and Serenade by Derek Bourgeois, receiving Excellent, the second best ranking possible. Our wind ensemble performed Slava by Leonard Bernstein and Southern Harmony by William Walker, receiving Unanimous Superior from the judges. The UHS String Orchestra performed Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 by J.S. Bach, For the Star of County Down arranged by Deborah Baker Monday and Geometric Dances by Richard Meyer. Overall, the String Orchestra received Excellent from the adjudicators. Concert Orchestra started their performance with the first two movements of Edward Elgar’s Serenade fur Streichorester and finished with Ode to the Plains and Wild Horses Running, by Robert Kerr. Concert Orchestra received Unanimous Superior.
Members of the UHS Band Program, including Keira Monuki (Sr.) and Denise Zhou (Sr.) organized and hosted this event, which took place in the UHS big theater. Monuki said that this festival experience was unique for her. She said, “Wind Ensemble has never performed in the festival at UniI so it was cool to see our own students working at a festival we performed at. The performance went really well and there were actually people in the audience! Everyone who worked during the festival did a great job.”
Zhou worked during the festival as a stage crew member and helped set up chairs, stands and percussion set-ups for both band and orchestra for two years in a row. She said, “I worked the festival last year too and I thought it’d be fun to do it again. Hosting the festival is a pretty big responsibility for us, so communication and efficiency is key for all the jobs people worked. It’s cool to hear different groups from Southern California perform and see what it’s like for bands and orchestras unlike the ones we have here at Uni.”
Throughout the festival, the band program sold food, including Korean barbeque, noodles and boba outside the theater for the performers, audience members and UHS students to enjoy. The money raised from this food will go towards UHS Band Aides, which funds certain aspects of the band program during marching season and concert season.
Even though the 2015 SCSBOA festival has just passed, many people are already thinking about next year’s festival, “I really hope we can get a Unanimous Superior next year,” said Ulysses Gallardo (Fr.), a member of String Orchestra. He added, “Being ranked that high as a group is a rejuvenating feeling and I really hope the groups to come can experience it too.”