Symphony Orchestra Performs at Midwest Clinic Early Preview Concert

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  • The symphony orchestra rises for the audience after the concert.

  • Laoise Matsumoto ’21 peforms a short solo during the orchestra’s rendition of Russian Christmas Music composed by Alfred Reed and arranged by Michael Story.

  • Director Joshua Thompson conducts the symphony orchestra during their performance of Across the Stars (Love Theme from Star Wars: Episode III) by John Williams

  • Symphony orchestra first violinists demonstrate stellar technique in the lively Carnival Overture op. 92 by Antonin Dvorak. Principal player Elliot Kim ’21 performed a short solo.

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The Symphony Orchestra performed their Midwest Clinic Early Preview Concert on Monday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. They played five of the eight pieces they are going to perform at the seventy-third Midwest Clinic in December at Chicago. 

The Symphony Orchestra was one out of three high school full orchestras selected in the nation to perform at the Midwest Clinic. The clinic is the largest music education conference in the world. Musicians gather to have a conference about music, and groups from all over the world are invited to perform. The process of choosing the performers is very selective. 

“You have to send video, audio, past programs, and letters of recommendation,” Head Orchestra Director Mr. Joshua Thompson said. “It’s really tough to get in, and for us to be one of three [full orchestras] picked this year is definitely a great honor.” 

To start off the concert, the orchestra played Carnival Overture op. 92 by Antonin Dvorak, conducted by Mr. Thompson. The piece mimicked a lively festival, as portrayed in a passage repeated throughout. There were sudden dynamic changes, and the piece was fast-paced. Following Dvorak, the orchestra played A Festive Fanfare by Brian Balmages, conducted by Assistant Band Director Brittany Dacy. Along with music composed by Balmages, the piece had excerpts of holiday music that appeared throughout. It had a moderate pace, and was relatively short compared to the other pieces. For their third piece, the orchestra played Russian Christmas Music composed by Alfred Reed and arranged by Michael Story. It was conducted by Associate Orchestra Director Justin Anderson. The music had a slow pace and contained elements of worship music of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Starting out with the ring of a bell, there were periodic bell rings throughout. Laoise Matsumoto ‘21 performed a solo during the piece.

“It’s actually a really simplistic piece to play, but because of all the chords, and all the notes that are put together with different instruments, it creates this whole different feeling,” Matsumoto said. “If one person plays, it’s very monotone and kind of boring, but when everyone else plays, it’s really interesting.”

The orchestra played Across the Stars (Love Theme from Star Wars: Episode II) by John Williams for their fourth piece. The piece was conducted by Mr. Thompson. Harps and the lower voices started the music. Most of the song was relatively soft compared to the rest of the program. Across the Stars was different from the rest of the program because it was from a movie. Finishing the concert, the orchestra played Pitchfork, the third movement of American Gothic, composed by Michael Daugherty. The music was conducted by Head Band Director Thomas Turpin. Differing from the rest of the program, the music included sounds an orchestra would not typically make, and lots of accidentals. At the beginning, glass bottles were played, starting the series of strange sounds. There was a fast pace, and a country style to the music. The solos in the piece, performed by Anant Malpani ‘21, mimicked the style of a fiddle. After the end of Pitchfork, there was a huge, and long applause from the audience. 

“It’s a really modern piece, like really contemporary, and it was supposed to kind of juxtapose really weird modern sounds, but country,” Malpani said. 

The Symphony Orchestra got the opportunity to perform music they had been working on since a week before school started. The next orchestra concert is the Winter Concert on Tuesday Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. at Hope Presbytarian Church, with all orchestras but the Symphony Orchestra performing. The next concert with the Symphony Orchestra is the Midwest Clinic Send-Off Concert on Wednesday Dec. 11 at the Round Rock ISD Performing Arts Center (PAC) at 7 p.m.