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Elective Spotlight: Orchestra

The+violin.+One+of+the+most+important+instruments+in+the+orchestra.
The violin. One of the most important instruments in the orchestra.

The violin. One of the most important instruments in the orchestra.

via Flickr

via Flickr

The violin. One of the most important instruments in the orchestra.

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At Kraemer Middle School, all students are required to take four core classes (Math, History, Science and Language Arts), P.E., and at least two electives. There is a wide range of electives to choose from such as art, band, orchestra and foreign languages, just to name a few.  A very popular elective for incoming seventh and eighth graders is orchestra.

 

There are three different orchestras at Kraemer.  If a student decides to choose orchestra as his or her elective, he or she will get into one of three levels. If a student is a beginner, he or she will automatically get into the most basic orchestra. If the student is more experienced or has been playing for some time, he or she will get a chance to audition and move up to one of the two advanced orchestras. Periods 1 and 6, which is comprised mostly of seventh graders and some eighth graders, is the first orchestra and it is known as Intermediate Orchestra. Currently, the two classes are taught by an awesome teacher, Mr. Paul Grant. They practice and perform some of the more straightforward songs. The next two levels, periods 3 and 4, are the two advanced orchestras and are comprised mostly of eighth graders and some seventh graders. Period 4 is the class known as Advanced Orchestra, and period 3 is the highest level known as Chamber Strings. These two advanced orchestras are taught by the talented teacher, Mr. Bruce Topping.

 

Every year, the Intermediate Orchestra performs at three concerts: the Winter Concert, the Spring Concert, and the End of the Year Concert. They also get to perform at Knott’s Berry Farm. The advanced orchestras also get to play with the intermediate orchestra at the same three concerts, but in addition, they get a chance to participate in performing at either Disneyland or California Adventures. At Knott’s Berry Farm, all three orchestras appear together.

 

At the Winter Concert this year, one of the songs the Intermediate Orchestra performed a song entitled Guest Soloist. In this case, the principal, Mr. Keith Carmona was called up on stage as the surprise soloist. Some would say that his violin performance was the highlight of the evening. The advanced orchestra performed four songs: Dance of the Harlequins, Rest Ye Merry, Rock Ye Very, Christmastide, and Spirit of Hanukkah. After the second orchestra completed their part, two string quartets, both comprised of 3rd period students, performed. The first of the two, the 7th Grade Quartet, played See You Again. The 8th grade Quartet had put together two popular songs on their own which they performed as a medley: Stay with Me and Bohemian Rhapsody.

 

Sometime in January, the advanced orchestras have the opportunity to perform at the SCSBOA (Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association) Festival. If their performances are almost flawless, they get ranked “Unanimous Superior”. Receiving this rank is the most difficult, as all three judges have to vote Superior. The orchestras are ranked “Superior” if two of the three judges give them the highest marks.  Unfortunately, if the group makes noticeable mistakes, the highest rank that they can get is “Excellent.” These are the only three rankings the advanced orchestras strive for.

 

If a student wants to learn more on how to play a string instrument such as the violin, viola, cello, or string bass, he or she should probably choose orchestra as an elective. Another reason to join is interest in performing in front of large audiences, or simply because the student enjoys music.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Elective Spotlight: Orchestra”

  1. Jerry Chen on December 21st, 2017 10:09 am

    nice article Robert!

    [Reply]

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