Seniors Ryan Ho and Caleb Davis and sophomore Serajh Esmail show off the "Gold" rating for String Orchestra and the cello section's Outstanding Muscianship Award. (Photo courtesy of Esmail)

String Orchestra and Jazz Band grab gold, Combined Orchestra takes silver in Forum Music Festival

The Combined Orchestra, String Orchestra and  Jazz Band competed at the Forum Music Festival in San Mateo, April 26.

The String Orchestra and  Jazz Band both won golds (top 10 percent in the nation), while the Combined Orchestra settled for silver (top 20 percent).

The Combined Orchestra didn’t expect to win gold in its inaugural year, according to senior Daniel Kong, who plays percussion in the Combined Orchestra and electric bass in the Jazz Band,

Nevertheless, Kong thought playing in the Combined Orchestra was a great experience.

“(Music director Bob Ratcliff) made a great choice choosing (the pieces),” Kong said. “They’re kind of easy to perform but are really amazing when they’re played in a big group.”

The Combined Orchestra received an 86 and 85 out of 100 from two judges for the pieces they played.

One judge, John Maltester of St. Mary’s College, said in the recorded comments that the Combined Orchestra “sounds good and has good balance.”

However, the judges also touched lightly on the subject of not having enough musicians.

“You could desperately use a contra base and a tuba,” judge Owen Cross said. “It’s always very difficult to have a symphony orchestra of young musicians. Because of the lack of string players, the winds will stand out, which is the opposite of what we prefer to have.”

The judges also awarded junior Ethan Ham, Kong, and sophomores Colby Conner and Keaton Ochoa an outstanding musicianship award for the rhythm section in the Jazz Band.

Other musicians who received this award were junior Emma Williams for String Orchestra  as well as sophomore Serajh Esmail, senior Caleb Davis and seventh-grader Chardonnay Needler for the cello section in the Combined Orchestra.

The groups that received gold will attend the Forum Music Festival in Anaheim next year.

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