(Photo by Mary Swisher)

Full orchestra and strings orchestra both earn silver at Golden Empire (videos included)

The high-school string and full orchestras won silvers at the Golden Empire Music Festival, March 15.

The full orchestra, which includes both the strings and the band, played arranged versions of “Triumphant March” by Tchaikovsky and “Minuet” by Corelli.

The string orchestra played arranged versions of “The Prelude movement of Brook Green Suite” by Holst and “Exsultate, Jubilate” by Mozart.

The reason that the pieces are “arranged” is that music director Bob Ratcliff and orchestra teacher Felicia Keys had to modify pieces to fit the unique band and orchestra groups.

“For the band you have dozens of instruments; first and second flute, second and second bass clarinet,” Ratcliff said. “There are all these different instruments which the pieces are written for, and we never have enough players to fill out a band.

“My prediction based on how the groups sounded was that the strings would score in the high two (high silver) and the orchestra (combined with band) would be middle two (middle silver),”

The strings ended up getting a high two (high silver), while the orchestra received a low two (low silver).

Unlike the previous small ensemble festival, this competition was less nerve-wracking but still carried a lot of weight.

“If you make a mistake, it’s not necessarily a big deal since you can’t quite be heard, and it’s harder for the judges to tell,” junior Emma Williams said.

Nevertheless, Williams did believe that there was a lot of pressure on the full orchestra.

“This was the first time the band and orchestra played together in a competition,” she said. “We had a lot of expectations, and  we were trying to set a good precedent for ourselves.”

According to Williams, the orchestras were also unlucky with the judge they received.

She said the pieces they played were the judge’s favorites, and he, therefore. expected the orchestra to play them well.

“I don’t think we played as well as we could have, and we definitely had better rehearsals than how we performed,” Williams said.

On a different note, she said that another reason the groups had a low rating was because of the structure of the music elective.

The strings usually get just one rehearsal a week and the rest of the days are left to practice with the full orchestra.

According to Williams, the strings had it easier last year because they could worry about the style and emotion of the music since they had more time to practice.

“But now we have double the amount of pieces, less time to practice and, therefore, less time to create that connection with the music we used to have,” she said.

Since the groups did not get a gold or superior they will not advance to the state competition.

(Videos by Mary Swisher)

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