Felecia Keys directs the orchestra at the Forum Music Festival, May

Orchestra wins gold rating at Forum Music Festival; judges praise cellos, soloists

(Photo used by permission of Allison Zhang)
Felecia Keys directs the orchestra at the Forum Music Festival, May 21.

The orchestra received all 1’s at the Forum Musical Festival on May 21, earning the group a gold medal and placing them in the top 10 percent of schools across the country.

The gold rating earned at the festival, held at Ohlone College in Fremont, means the orchestra will be invited to perform at Disneyland next spring.

Sophomore Amalie Fackenthal received the outstanding musicianship award for her violin solos.

The orchestra played two pieces, “Celtic Roots” by Soon He Newbold and “Palladio” by Karl Jenkins, which they’d rehearsed since February.

Director Felecia Keys said she gives the musicians the pieces early because the more they practice it, the better they get at it.

“We can then focus on the small things, making the pieces even better,” she said.

“Once you get past the notes and dynamics, you then have to make the piece come alive.”

After their performance, the orchestra members said they felt confident in their performance.

“This is what we had been working towards for months and felt so ready to perform,” Keys said.

“We just knew it felt right when we were done.”

Even though it felt right, the orchestra members still didn’t know how the judges were going to rate them.

But when they won, the feeling was great, especially for the seniors.

“I was really excited because I was going out on a high note,” violinist Madison Judd said.

“But I was also sad because I can’t go to Disneyland next year.”

The judges praised the group for their performance.

“The cellos and soloists were amazing,” one judge said.

“You guys had great balance, and I could hear all the soloists,” another said.

Another said, “Don’t tell anyone I said this, but you are the first group I have heard in a long time that I felt comfortable giving a gold to.”

—By Jack Christian

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