The orchestras and choir didn’t only spend a weekend in the happiest place on earth, on their trip to Disneyland, they also performed in the Anaheim Forum Festival.
The three groups have been consistently going to the Forum Festival every other year.
This year, all three groups (middle- and high-school choir, high-school orchestra and middle-school orchestra) placed within the top five at the festival, among 43 competitors.
In their respective divisions the choir placed second, the middle-school orchestra placed third, and the high-school orchestra placed fourth.
Both groups played two songs, and were scored by three judges in one of the many auditoriums at Fullerton College.
The students left on Thursday and arrived in the evening, then performed on Friday and went to the park whenever they weren’t performing.
However, due to ticketing issues they couldn’t attend Adventure Park, which is where many of the students usually spend their time on this trip.
The high-school orchestra had a few complications that led to its placing just under the top three.
“The fact that we’re such a small group put us at a slight disadvantage” sophomore Allison Zhang said. “A lot of our competitors were really large orchestras, so they could get away with making small mistakes that were really evident when we performed.”
Zhang said she still was happy with fourth place as they were going up against some of the best musical groups in California.
Zhang said that this was one of the first years that the competition was organized in such a way.
Before there has been a separation between full orchestra and strings orchestra and a similar separation for the choirs as well.
Orchestra and choir teacher Felecia Keys said that this lack of separation was probably due to a lack of competitors.
“We probably would’ve had a better chance of winning but I don’t know for sure.” Keys said. “We did really well. They all got really high scores.” She pointed out that the orchestra only lost by 3-4 points.
Key said they were also the only school in the sacramento area to even go to the national competition for either a choir or orchestra group.
These placements were enough to guarantee the choir and orchestras places in next year’s competition, although they won’t be going then.
“We’ve qualified (for the festival in Anaheim) every year,” Keys said. “But it’s a lot of work and (puts) a lot of pressure financially on the parents to go every year.”
Keys said she was amazed by all the performances, especially the choir due to their small size.
“The fact that (the orchestra and choir) did so good, particularly (the choir), who scored better than any of our groups. “Keys said. “I mean they’re really good.”
And Keys isn’t the only one to be amazed by the choir’s performance, as they have been contacted by Golden One Center to perform the national anthem at one of the Kings’ games.
“I don’t know if we will be able to do it, but it’s really nice that they asked,” Keys said.
Next year the choir and orchestras will perform in the regional competition in Santa Clara, where the high-school band will compete on May 20.
To attend the competition in Anaheim, an ensemble must be in the top 10 percent in the regional competition.
If the high-school band fulfills this requirement next year, they will be able to join the choir and orchestras in Anaheim in spring 2019.
—By Mehdi Lacombe