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All-Regional Orchestra Success

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Music has the power to motivate and inspire people. It can invoke feelings and emotions of love, excitement, joy, and passion. However, it needs talented people to bring it to life from the pages of black symbols. Our high school orchestra is full of students like this. Some of them have even taken an extra step forward to prove themselves.

The All-Regional Festival is a wonderful opportunity for our students to show off their skills. For regionals, Arizona is divided into eight regions, and Arizona College Prep is in the Southwest region. Students from the region have been preparing for the auditions since August. Competition is extremely tough, especially for the violins (there are a lot of them, and only so many can be accepted). There are people who can play the pieces without missing a beat. There are people who can keep every note in tune and flawlessly let the sound ring out beautifully. There are people whose fingers seems to dance and glide over their instrument as if they were already performing on stage. Needless to say, the pressure was on.

Our fantastic high-school orchestra students pushed through the pressure and were successful in their endeavors. Chris Boyd and Alex Bacon, playing the cello and the bass respectively, have made it to regionals before and have been accepted yet again. Shirel Lichaa, who placed as a first alternate violist last year, has made a comeback this year, and will play with the All-Regional orchestra. Uriel Choi, one of our orchestra’s many talented violinists was accepted as well. Our orchestra’s first harpist, Sophia Chan, has gracefully plucked her way into the All-Regional orchestra. A different kind of instrument was also masterfully demonstrated by Sean Gallegos, since he was auditioning for bass voice.

During the period of time before the auditions occurred, Mr. Salomone, our orchestra director, aided these students on their journey to success. He offered a few tips for how to practice, which included listening to a recording and understanding the ‘feel’ of it. This helps form a more definite idea of what the piece should sound like and serves as a guide for how fast it should be taken. Auditioning can be rather nerve-racking, and to help the musicians overcome this challenge, Mr. Salomone had them play a handful of scales as well as one or two of their etudes (short musical pieces) in front of the class. In order to create the full experience, the observing students were filling out grading sheets and judging the performances. Not only did this help create the stressful environment, but it provided feedback for the performers. It was amazing to notice how much time and effort was being put into practicing the etudes, and how these amazing people brought the music to life. Sean’s performance was especially unique since he wasn’t performing with his cello. Rather, he was using his voice to convey the emotions in the song, and each note rang across the room with such breathtaking beauty.

Here’s what Uriel Choi had to say about his experience auditioning for the All-Regional Orchestra:

Q: What did you do to prepare for regionals?

A: I practiced the etudes every day for a couple weeks, and I would select a random scale to play every day. If I forgot the fingerings, I would work on that.

Q: What was it like when you went to audition?

A: There were a lot of people, and I was kind of nervous, but I was also excited, and there were a lot of familiar faces as well. I wasn’t really that nervous until I was in front of the audition room. In the warm-up room, it was okay, and I was practicing my scales, but in the audition rooms, it was pretty nerve-racking because you can’t see the judge.

Q: What have you learned from this experience?

A: I learned that consistent practicing is the best because it is better than practicing a lot one day, and then not practicing for a couple days, and then practicing a lot again. It is better to practice a little every day.

Chris Boyd, Alex Bacon, Shirel Lichaa,Uriel Choi, Sophia Chan, and Sean Gallegos all strove for the seemingly impossible when they auditioned, and achieved the extraordinary when they were accepted into the All-Regional Orchestra. The festival has yet to come, so good luck to our talented students. Have fun!

 

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