Students to perform for district assessment

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Carina Chu

Violinists senior Julia Dao and junior Tiffany Do rehearse “Korean Folk Tune,” arranged by Richard Meyer.

You’re on the stage. A bright light shines on your face and all you can see are your classmates and director. You want your performance to be perfect. Judges are watching your every move, listening to every sound you make. The pressure is on.

That’s how orchestra students will feel this weekend as they perform in front of a panel of judges for their district assessment at Edison HS.

All middle and high school orchestra programs in District 10 will compete in district assessment March 7-9 to receive a score. All AHS orchestra programs will participate.

“[It’s] like the SOL’s for music,” senior violinist Rebecca Nguyen said.

Orchestras play in front of three judges. Scores are based on intonation, rhythm, balance, blend and appearance.

“[Scores] are also graded on musicality,” orchestra director Angela Ammerman said. “Whether the students are into the music and telling a story, or just playing the notes on the page.”

Points can be deducted for misbehavior and appearance. If a student is wearing inappropriate attire, it will hurt their scores.

After their stage performance, orchestra groups are sent to a separate room where they play a piece they have never seen before. They are judged and given a score. All performances are rated from 1 to 5, with 1 being a superior and 5 being a poor.

The Chamber, Artiste and Symphony orchestras have been rehearsing since their winter concert back in December. The songs to be performed this weekend were also performed at the orchestras’ pyramid concert, which had a panel of mock judges. Selected pieces were chosen to show the orchestras’ playing flexibility.

“All the pieces I’ve chosen are diverse,” Ammerman said. “I want to give our judges an idea of our vast abilities.”

Songs include Bizet’s “Farandole” and Richard Meyer’s “Bailes Para Orquestra.” Senior Sameen Yusuf and junior John Kim are the soloists for Meyer’s piece. The soloists go back and forth, almost taunting each other as well as the whole orchestra.

“[“Farandole”] is a staple,” Ammerman said. “[It’s] a super famous piece.”

District assessment challenges the students and motivates them to score a superior.

“I know we have the ability,” Ammerman said. “I want students to take more pride in orchestra. A superior at festival can be something that they can achieve together.”