Student Feature: Farrah Chan

Henrina Zhang, Staff Writer

At Arcadia High School (AHS), Concert Orchestra is the top level of Orchestra to be offered. This group of amazingly talented musicians thrives as performers and students, often learning new skills and music and managing to balance their other commitments with their hectic practice schedules. 

Amongst these performers is sophomore Farrah Chan, a cello player who also serves on the Orchestra Council. She’s played the cello for seven years, starting at 11-years-old.

“My favorite thing about Orchestra is definitely the community,” said Chan. “Although we may be smaller and not as close to everyone like Band is, everyone has friends who they can always rely on and are close with. Eventually, I know that those friends that everyone has made will stick with them for life, since my older sister is still in contact with her friends despite being at different colleges.” 

When it comes to Concert Orchestra, skill and talent themselves aren’t enough. To thrive as a performer, Chang agreed that one also needs passion, dedication, and the willingness to push themselves above their limits. 

One way that Chan recommended becoming a better musician is “to practice even though it may be frustrating. When practicing, problem-solving is the main key to this since there are always rhythmic sections and sections for intonation which are difficult to fix.”

In addition to her role as a performer, Chan is also a part of the Orchestra Council. Being a part of the Orchestra Council is not easy, from all the bondings and fundraisers to the behind-the-scenes work, this group of leaders must balance their musical training, academics, extracurriculars, and other aspects of life. Chan’s main job as the Concert Orchestra Historian is to take pictures of any events that they have. She also helps make posters for events and posts on Orchestra’s Instagram and Facebook accounts. Not only is she the historian, but Chan also serves as a member of the blog team. As part of the blog team, she’s in charge of helping write articles about the Orchestra students who have done extraordinary things in class and outside of class. 

Chan also has a variety of different commitments. Although it may be hard, Chan said that all her responsibilities are manageable, as long as she does all her tasks proactively and never puts anything off. 

As far as the Orchestra community, Chan described it as a “group of friends that are most likely filled with their ride or die people, the ones they would do anything with. Although we are separated into our small groups, we all try our best to connect with others outside of our group. Thus, almost everyone in Orchestra knows each other and can rely on one another to match each other’s crazy vibes.”

One of her favorite things about it is the incredible friends she made, and the people she’s met. She believes that their greatest strength is how friendly and accepting they all are. Concert Orchestra is not afraid to go outside of their comfort zone to help out fellow Orchestra students. 

This year, they’ve revived a Superior rating at the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association and went to San Diego to participate in the WorldStrides Festival. There, Concert Orchestra received Gold and scored 2nd place.

Moreover, Chan described her musical schedule on a normal day as “not so bad.” However, on busier days before performances, Orchestra gets to be a bigger time commitment. She recalled early morning rehearsals, waking up at five a.m. for Orchestra trips, and late-night concerts. 

In the end, Chan expressed that all the effort and time she puts into Orchestra is worth it. She loves playing the cello, playing as a whole group of musicians, and all the opportunities she’s been given.