Orchestra showcases Autumn Serenade

The Walnut High School Orchestra and Suzanne eighth grade Challenger Orchestra performed for the annual Autumn Serenade Concert in the Performing Arts Center on Thursday, Oct. 30.

Like last year, there was no particular theme but rather a collage of many different styles and genres. The concert included a piece during the second half of the concert called “Sakura Sakura,” which was conducted by Erin Hobbs, the eighth grade music teacher of Suzanne Middle School.

“The performance wasn’t like adding a middle school orchestra, it was like adding another really good high school orchestra. It was really tight and everything really stayed together and that’s the most difficult thing with a large group,” band director Corey Wicks said.

The first half featured freshman Olivia Chiang who performed “Concierto de Aranjuez” with the Walnut Orchestra and senior Phyllis Pan who performed “Rhapsody in Blue,” a piece that has not been played since the PAC first opened over 14 years ago because of its complexity.

“I thought the first half was amazing. I’ve seen all those kids play that music,” band conductor Corey Wicks said. “Phyllis is one of the best musicians we’ve ever had, she’s like a professional, she’s really amazing. We’ve been hearing about [Olivia] for a few years because she went to Suzanne Middle School. She’s just a phenomenal guitar player and she’s way beyond her years. I thought both of those songs were really interesting pieces of music. I also think it’s the best symphonic orchestra we’ve ever had.”

In order to prepare for this, orchestra had been practicing for the Autumn Serenade Concert since the beginning of the school year.

“Our practices during class are pretty vigorous and we get things done pretty well,” Symphonic Orchestra cellist sophomore Claire Martinez said. “We play really well in concerts even though we might goof around during practice sometimes.”

To close the night, Walnut’s own intermediate strings and Suzanne’s eighth grade Challenger Orchestra played a piece called “Fright Night” to round out the Halloween spirit which included tidbits from famous macabre music pieces like the theme from “Jaws” and “The Addams Family.”

“It actually went pretty well,” Wicks said. ““They were just really prepared this year and it went more smoothly than it has in the last couple of years.”

By Irene Ornelas, Staff writer

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