Symphonic Orchestra places 1st at national competition

UHS Symphonic Orchestra poses with its 1st place trophy. (Elysia Ouyang)

By MEGHA TORPUNURI
Staff Writer

The UHS Symphony Orchestra won first place at the American String Teachers Association’s 2016 National Orchestra Festival in Tampa, Florida.

Headed by Ms. Grace Lee (Visual and Performing Arts Dept.), Symphony Orchestra attended this competition for the third year in a row.

The American String Teachers Association (ASTA) selects orchestras to compete at its national festival each year from a pool of applying groups, which are required to send in a recording of their previous performances.

The UHS Symphony Orchestra first applied in 2013 and was accepted that year.

UHS also competed in the 2015 festival and this year’s 2016 festival.

Musicians started preparing for the festival as soon as school began and continued up until the night before the orchestra’s performance.

“Throughout the year, section leaders and orchestra members mostly worked on the technicality of our parts. When it came to notes and rhythm, all of us were capable as individuals,” said Chelsea Mariano (Jr.).

“But once we started having longer rehearsals a week before the competition, all of us started to realize that nothing was quite together as we wanted our pieces to be.

“We left for our flight on Wednesday feeling slightly uneasy,” Mariano said.

“Even on our flight to Florida, we were making changes and studying the music more extensively than before. For other passengers, it might have looked kind of silly; our conductor conducting in the air, and a select few of us with our noses in the scores.”

According to James Gui (Sr.), “We worked really hard at the last minute to polish our performance. The cellos even had to play at sectionals on their knees because we had no chairs.”

UHS Symphony Orchestra played Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings Movements 2, 3, and 4, Bloch’s Prelude of Concerto Grosso No. 1 and “La Follia Variations” arranged by Michi Wiancko.

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