Full Symphony Spotlight


Roger Xu

UHS band and orchestra members now perform together as the Full Symphony.

Lauren Kim, Staff Writer

This year, we can witness the greatness of the melodious orchestra and the euphonious wind symphony together in one harmonious melody in the new Full Symphony.

Full Symphony allows students to play band and orchestral instruments together. Though band and orchestra students play and practice separately during class, they join together during Office Hours in room 601 to practice in preparation for their concerts. 

“Both [orchestra and Full Symphony] are fun, but the Full Symphony concerts are very exciting because we get to showcase both band and orchestra and feature many instrumentalists rather than just string musicians,” junior Elizabeth Choi said. 

After the resignation of a former orchestra director last year, the orchestral department welcomed a new orchestra staff member, Ms. Christine Maneewongwathana. Together, Mr. Corey Heddon and Maneewongwathana worked to establish the Full Symphony.

“It’s very odd playing with a large group of kids who I have little to no experience playing with, [but] it’s a good kind of different — as in I get to learn how other ensembles can coordinate, learn and play together,” senior Paul Vu said. 

However, keeping up with the academic side at University High School is not an easy feat. These students not only sacrifice their Office Hours, but they also manage to find time in their busy schedules to prepare for upcoming performances. 

“You can see that both conductors become so busy and frantic as the concert date comes closer,” sophomore Miryam Greenstein said. “It’s especially hard to track how much progress the symphony has made since we only have a limited number of days we can meet and not everyone can come to practice during the days that orchestra and Wind Symphony play together.”

Even with endless training and painstaking hours of practicing the same tunes over and over again, these students are still dedicated to their art for one important reason: to grow as musicians.  

“I hope to engage in more future collaborations with the band as I find that rehearsals are more interesting with numerous instruments,” Choi said. “We can learn more about each other’s sounds and improve as an ensemble to match our musicality and technique.” 

Full Symphony performances provide musicians with the opportunity to play new songs without having their creativity restricted due to the limited variety of instruments. New change also means that there is room for a lot more improvement; however, this can only be achieved if more people participate in the Full Symphony. 

“I think the Full symphony is cool so far, but we’re still a new ensemble with huge possibilities for improvement in our musical abilities and how we conduct rehearsals,” Vu said. “We need to find ways to include all of the players in the band; [however], I understand too many band players on one stage can be too much.” 

The Full Symphony’s next performance will take place in December. Students interested in hearing the incredible ensemble of the band and orchestra members are highly encouraged to attend.