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Full Orchestra UIL Preview Concert Spotlights Student Collaboration in Music

March 2, 2023

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  • Shifting his bow towards the fingerboard, Wilton Jiang ’26 varies musical dynamics during ‘Coriolan Overture’ by Beethoven. A powerful set of introductory chords set the tone for this piece.

  • Attentive to his music, cellist Noah Kim ’23 performs alongside his section during ‘Adagio’ from the ‘Spartacus’ Ballet by Khachaturian. Low strings entered the piece in an ascending melodic figure.

  • Conducting the Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Joshua Thompson cues the second violin section. Finding balance across sections was key to rehearsals held in preparation for this performance.

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Fingers in flurry created a cacophony of sound and ritual. Tuning procedures melded with last-minute uniform adjustments, where students listened carefully across instrument sections and caught well-wishes from nearby music stands. Joining to present a wide selection of repertoire, orchestra, and band students performed at their UIL Preview Concert on Monday, Feb. 27 at the Raymond Hartfield Performing Arts Center (PAC). 

Captivating the audience, Philharmonic 2nd Block Orchestra, conducted by Mr. Joshua Thompson and Mr. Brandon Winters, began the program with Slavonic Dance no. 1 by Antonin Dvorak and arranged by Merle Isaac. Percussive elements from the snare and bass drum introduced the primary rhythmic motif, sustained by high strings in a lively rendition. Providing lyrical contrast, Evangeline: Two Cajun Songs, a pair of traditional folk tunes arranged by Michael Story, featured a bright trumpet solo, resonating within the instrumentation. A pompous introduction to the Waltz from Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty ballet, also arranged by Isaac, quickly mellowed to structure the lush, ascending melodic figure. 

“While the full orchestra rehearsals weren’t exactly how I expected them to be, it was a surprisingly pleasant experience,” cello player Hannah Lin ‘26 said. “It was interesting to work with a new conductor for an extended period of time and to play together.”

Calling for precise musical phrasing, the Philharmonic 4th Block Orchestra, under the direction of Mr. Justin Anderson and Ms. Brittany Dacy, plunged into Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture Op. 62 with a set of brooding chords, shaping the potent C-minor opening. Dynamic variation soared throughout the Waltz from Masquerade Suite by Aram Khachaturian, curating an atmosphere of auditory intrigue. Pizzicato from the cellos and basses enclosed a buoyant violin melody in the final selection, titled Juba Dance from Florence Price’s Symphony No. 1 in E Minor, where the brass offered a vibrant flare. 

“I really enjoy getting to play in a full orchestra because we get a different role in the ensemble than we normally would,” flute player Alicia Kanazawa de Figueiredo ‘25 said. “It’s very interesting to hear the different sounds that are added to the band.” 

To conclude the concert, Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Mr. Thompson and Mr. Thomas Turpin, performed Allegro from the Shostakovich Symphony No. 10, fronted by a frantic woodwind melody that amplified the strings’ mounting energy. Imparting a delicate timbre, the harp part in Adagio from the Spartacus ballet by Khachaturian carefully punctuated the developing love theme. Musical dialogue shared in Šárka from Má Vlast (My Homeland) by Bedřich Smetana restored the bold storytelling evident earlier in the evening. 

“Through each of our rehearsals, our section really grew as a team and learned to perform with more confidence and passion,” viola player Jenny Yun ‘25 said. “Hearing and feeling our contribution to the music-making as an ensemble, especially with such difficult repertoire, instilled a sense of pride in our section.”

The three full orchestras will perform their selections for UIL judges on Thursday, March 2, taking part in a concert and sight-reading evaluation. 

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Catharine Li, Horizon Editor-in-Chief

Class of 2023

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    Anna BeattyMar 2, 2023 at 4:23 am

    Elated to see this year’s Full Orchestra UIL program — Best of luck to all!