The A.B.O.D.A. State Festival


Last month, on March 6, ACP’s high school orchestra took a trip to Desert Ridge High School for the A.B.O.D.A. area festival. They were awarded with an average score of Excellent, which made them eligible for the A.B.O.D.A. state festival. This next challenge for our school’s orchestra took place at Chandler Center for the Arts. One by one, the orchestra students arrived at their destination on Thursday, April 26, around 7:30 in the morning.

After gathering in the lobby, the group was ushered onstage to warm up at 8 o’clock. Soon enough, 8:30 came around, and an announcer introduced the ACP high school orchestra and the musical pieces they were performing. Their first piece, an arrangement of New World Symphony by Antonin Dvorak, began rather dramatically. The first few measures were reminiscent of the Jaws theme song, but after that, the piece transitioned into a section with a regal feel to it. Then in the middle of the song, there was a small section that seemed faster due to strings of a rhythm called a triplet. Because of some trouble with this section, the group decided to take the whole song a bit under the suggested tempo. It was clearly a brilliant strategy because they performed the section well at the state festival. The next part of New World Symphony featured a beautiful, flowing violin solo, played by Uriel Choi. After the solo, the rest of the violins joined him again, and the piece turned back to the main theme for a last hurrah. It was really only the beginning though; there were still two more pieces. The next song was Sinfonia No. 2 in d Major, by Felix Mendelssohn, which was their required piece for the area festival. The orchestra chose to perform it again for the state festival, in order to show they can improve on something they have been given feedback for. One bit of advice for the piece was to bring out the different melodies in the quiet section, so it seems as if the instruments are having a conversation, and the orchestra did their best to improve that part. The third and final song, Red Rhythmico, by Kirt Mosier, was their chosen required piece for the state festival. The jazz song started off with a cello melody supported by the other instruments plucking overlapping rhythms. It develops a violin melody to go along with the cello melody for a while before the soloists took over. Uriel Choi, Naomi Nishikawa, Chris Boyd, and Arianne Law stole the show with their unique parts, leading the orchestra to the end of the piece for the real finale.

The day was not over yet for the orchestra students. Around 9 o’clock, they were guided to another room in a separate building where a new challenge awaited them: sight reading. The group was given sheet music for a piece they have never seen before, and were given five minutes to look it over. Mr. Salomone was allowed to point out trouble spots and prepare the orchestra for them. The musicians were allowed to practice fingerings, but they were not allowed to actually pluck or bow any of it. When the five minutes was up, they were instructed to play it. The orchestra performed the song well, considering that it was the first, and most likely only time they would play the piece.

ACP’s high school orchestra received another score of Excellent for their performance, as well as their sight reading. One of the adjudicators gave the group ratings of superior for all of the pieces, and overall the scores were higher than what they received at the area festival. Congratulations to our orchestra! Also, thank you to all of the parents who were able to bring the students to the festival since we would not have been able to do this without you!