Orchestra performs in Autumn Serenade concert

Orchestra performed with Suzanne Challenger Orchestra for the annual Autumn Serenade concert on Thursday, Nov. 9 in the Performing Arts Center.

Autumn Serenade was the first orchestra concert of the year. String Orchestra played for the first half of the concert with Suzanne Challenger Orchestra. The conductors alternated between the Walnut High School’s new band director, Katie Takahashi, and Suzanne Middle School’s music teacher, Ami Garvin. The ensemble played a variety of songs including “Brandenburg Concerto No.5”, “Shenandoah” and “Danse Infernale.”

“It was pretty good. We were on beat and able to match the conductor. Some people were out of tune and although there was good dynamics, we could have had more dynamic contrasts,” Intermediate Orchestra bass player sophomore Kevin Chen said. “[I was] excited [and] a little nervous because it’s our first concert of the year and we were playing with middle schoolers, so it was different. After the first song, we did good, so I was less nervous.”

Symphonic Orchestra, conducted by band director Corey Wicks, played in the second half of the concert with student soloists. Guitarist senior Olivia Chiang, a returning performer, played the piece “Farewell” by John Doan. Following Chiang’s performance, violinist sophomore Melody Yu performed the piece “Violin Concerto in E Minor Movement No. 1” by Felix Mendelssohn. The last soloist to perform was accordion player sophomore Nancy Yu who played “Oblivion” by Astor Piazzolla.

“[The Symphonic Orchestra was] emotion provoking because they clearly played out the dynamics of the music and sounded as one,” Intermediate Orchestra violinist sophomore Ardee Lu said.

The musicians practiced their songs everyday during zero period since the beginning of the school year to prepare for this concert. They had rehearsals from 3-6 p.m. to practice with the soloists during the week leading up to the concert.

“While getting good at playing a particular piece may require weeks, sometimes months of practice, by the performance, the quality of the sound improves astronomically compared to when we first learned the piece,” Symphonic Orchestra cellist junior Kanon Klassen said. “It’s like sports, the more you practice, the more you tend to get better.”

By Raymond Dunn, Staff writer
Photo by Kyle Lin