McLean students prepare for the upcoming district performance

Selected McLean orchestra students are working hard to get ready for the district concert

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McLean students prepare for the upcoming district performance

Students practice their pieces during their orchestra class. Photo by Dua Mobin.

Students practice their pieces during their orchestra class. Photo by Dua Mobin.

Students practice their pieces during their orchestra class. Photo by Dua Mobin.

Students practice their pieces during their orchestra class. Photo by Dua Mobin.

Dua Mobin, Reporter

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After auditions occurred for the Senior District VII Honors Orchestra during October, McLean High School had the most students accepted into the orchestra. Currently with the upcoming district concert on Saturday, Jan. 12, the students accepted are working tirelessly to make the performance a success with little rehearsal time.

“The reason why the performance and the event itself is held for a long time is [that] there aren’t any rehearsals prior to the concert except for the rehearsal the day before,” sophomore Emma Lee said.

Some performers are required to perform a considerably large amount due to their experience, skill and level in orchestra. This leads some to put in more work than others towards not only preparing for this concert, but other concerts and auditions including the recent district auditions.

“For Philharmonic [orchestra] we have a very extraneous program since we are required to play five pieces and two of them are solos,” sophomore Mimi Peng said.

Many orchestra players have been preparing for their district performance after being selected along with participating in gigs, and other performances around the same time as the winter concert which makes it difficult to manage the rehearsal time for districts with other orchestra events.

“A lot of people in my orchestra tried out for the District Honors Orchestra which will be performed in January. I, myself have volunteered for a Korean veterans performance to perform for retired veterans,” sophomore Chelsea Park said.

Being selected into the District Honors Orchestra itself was a journey as some students had little experience with such competitive auditions, so they practiced over an extensive period of time.

“I practiced for a total of four to five hours which was not bad for me because the music wasn’t that long,” Lee said.

When the designated students got selected into the District orchestra, and their hard work payed off, many were overjoyed and excited to be a member and to play alongside talented orchestra students like themselves, and motivated them to audition for more competitive positions next year.

“I was really excited. I couldn’t believe that I actually got second chair because I got ninth last year. And I have to say I was kind of impressed, but that kind of motivated me to try harder for regionals and possibly states next year,” Lee said.

The orchestra members play their pieces during the winter concert, providing them with experience and practice for the District Orchestra Photo by Dua Mobin

Seniors including Tuna Turk have been dedicated towards orchestra since elementary school and many of them are participating in the District Honors Orchestra, but they did not have to prepare as much as some others.

“I didn’t actually prepare very much because I didn’t think that the pieces were very hard. I should have prepared more, but I still made it,” Turk said.

Behind all the successes of McLean orchestra, their conductor, Scarlet Smith puts forth much effort in order to manage the over 200 students that participate in orchestra by choosing the pieces and preparing everyone for competing for positions in the district orchestra and concerts such as the most recent winter concert.

“I think Ms. Smith works really hard. She has to oversee over 200 kids and she teaches at an elementary school and I think from her being the only person doing that she has a lot of work to take care of,” Peng said.

In the end many students are bound by their similar interests in orchestra which originate from their childhood and the preparations many students undertook for the district orchestra sufficiently displays the years of hard work and ambition that McLean students put towards orchestra.

“Music is something we can all relate to and unlike everything else music is a universal language,” Peng said. “I feel really honored to be playing cello for other people.” 

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