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Winter Orchestra Concert

Aastha Chouhan, Copy Editor

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The Kennedy Junior High orchestras performed in their February concert on Tuesday the 28th. The concert had a theme of old tales and legends, and many of the songs reflected this theme. The groups played in order of grade: 6th graders going first, then 7th graders, and finally the 8th graders. There were also additional performances by other groups, including an 8th grade quartet in the beginning and the Kennedy Advanced Chamber Ensemble, who played between the 7th and 8th grade performances. The entire concert was conducted by Kennedy’s orchestra director, Shawnita McClure.


The quartet that started off the performance was comprised of four eighth graders: Holden Mui, Eron Ristich, Judson Lam, and David Mengel. Ristich and Lam played the violin, Mui played the viola, and Mengel played the cello. The group played Quartet No. 1, a piece that was composed by Mui himself. Mui described it as “a flowing”, and said it was inspired by his favorite composer, Maurice Ravel.


Following the quartet, the sixth grade orchestra performed three pieces: Medieval Wars by Brian Balmages, Deep River which was arranged by Carrie Lane Gruselle, and A Pioneer’s Tale by Alan Lee Silva. McClure was “very happy with the progress of the 6th graders”. She said they were learning things very quickly and that she was very impressed with the level of their techniques while playing.


After the 6th grade performance came the 7th grade one. They also played three songs: Crystal Moon by Larry Clark, Ancient Flower by Yukiko Nishimura, and Agincourt by Doug Spata. “The seventh grade also performed spectacularly,” McClure said.  


The Advanced Chamber Ensemble played a song after that: L’estro Armonico by Antonio Vivaldi (arranged by Bob Lipton). About the chamber ensemble McClure said, “The chamber group is a group composed of students who are willing to put in the extra practice and work into orchestra. Most of these kids play violin outside of school and they are all extremely talented.”


The 8th grade orchestra played The Odyssey, their first piece and the only one they played by themselves. Finally, the 8th grade band and orchestra combine to create a very large symphonic orchestra and played two songs; Bacchanale by Camille Saint-Saens (arranged by Merle Isaac) and Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring which was arranged by Bob Cerulli. This was the first time McClure had conducted such a large combined group and she said it was “challenging to see how all of the different sounds and instruments worked together, but my 8th graders always surprise me with their energy and skill levels at the concerts”.
McClure believes that the concert went “exceptionally”. Although she thought rehearsals were “stressful”, she is very proud of all of her students and the progress that they are making, and is excited for the performances to come.

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The student news site of Kennedy Jr. High School
Winter Orchestra Concert