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The Arcadia Quill

The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

Fall String Concert: A Night of Wonder

“It never gets old… sitting there on stage, instrument in hand, waiting for the curtain to go up.”
Arcadia Unified School District’s schools come together for a magical night of music!

The Arcadia Unified School District (AUSD) proudly presented its first orchestra concert of the year on Oct. 6 at the Arcadia Performing Arts Center (PAC). At the  Fall String Concert, all four orchestras from Arcadia High School (AHS) Dana Middle School, Foothills Middle School, and First Avenue Middle School took the stage; creating an unforgettable evening of music. The concert was a resounding success, evident from the bustling crowd that filled the PAC, where finding a seat became a challenge in itself.

The AHS Premier Orchestra, led by conductors Pin Chen and Connie Tu, set the stage for the evening. They captivated the audience with their performance, which included a diverse selection of pieces. “Chinese Folk Song Suite” by Yi Chen, “Skeleton Waltz” by Katie LaBrieand, and “Las Palmas” by Bob Lipton brought various flavors to the stage. As Katie LaBrie explained, “This spooky Viennese-style waltz has a few witty charms,” and Bob Lipton’s Las Palmas featured hand-clapping parts that illustrated Flamenco rhythms, infusing the performance with a dance-like energy.

The Dana Middle School Orchestra, under the direction of conductor Jeff Grable, took the audience on a musical journey with “Crystal Moon” by Larry Clark, “A Grieg Portrait” by Edvard Grieg, and “Professor Wigstein’s Amazing Melody Machine” by Richard Meyer. Grable’s introductions to the pieces added an educational element to the concert, and the special appearance of a “professor” with a white wig and lab coat playing a unique instrument with bells added a touch of whimsy to the evening.

The visual spectacle was to be noticed, as all the orchestras had unique uniforms that captivated the audience’s attention, earning them well-deserved applause after each piece. 

The AHS String Orchestra followed with their rendition of “Brandenburg Concerto, No.3” by J.S. Bach, “Ghost Carnival” by Erik Morales, and “La Sortija” by Michael O’Brien. Morales’s use of sul ponticello (an italian term that refers to a bow position where the bow is placed “on the bridge” in order to achieve an overtone-rich timbre) and artificial harmonics in Ghost Carnival created an eerie atmosphere that left the audience wondering if ghosts had indeed joined the performance.

The First Avenue Middle School Orchestra delivered a powerful performance with “Danse Infernale” by Elliot Del Borgo, “Overture to The Magic Flute” by Mozart, and “Millennium” by Lennie Niehaus. Elliot Del Borgo’s Danse Infernale featured dramatic shifts in style and tone, showcasing the orchestra’s versatility.

The AHS Concert Orchestra presented “Symphony No. 2 Finale” by Emilie Mayer, “Sinfonia No. 7” by J.S. Bach, and “Danse Bacchanale” by Camille Saint-Saens. “Symphony No. 2” by Emilie Mayer offered a unique perspective as a composition by a female composer in the Romantic era, and the orchestra navigated its dramatic dynamics with precision.

Foothills Middle School Orchestra enchanted the audience with “Autumn” from “The Four Seasons” by Inverno Antonio Vivaldi, “Scenes from Vivaldi’s Winter” arranged by Todd Parrish, and “Bravery and Grace” by George Sweet. Their performance brought Vivaldi’s vivid imagery of the changing seasons to life.

“The reason I love performing is because of the sense of community.” said senior Emily Yen, a member of the Symphony Orchestra. “I love how everyone has their own part to play. It is the best feeling in the world when everyone’s efforts come to fruition. Our performance was not without ups and downs. We did mess up a little bit, but it was nothing too noticeable. Overall, our performance was a success.” 

The grand finale featured the AHS Symphony Orchestra, who performed “Prelude for String Orchestra” by Gerald Finzi and three movements of “Serenade for Strings” by Antonín Dvořák. Gerald Finzi’s “Prelude for String Orchestra” conveyed deep sentiment and showcased the soloists’ emotional melodies, culminating in a powerful major conclusion.

“It never gets old… sitting there on stage, instrument in hand, waiting for the curtain to go up,” said senior Lucas Oh, a member of the Symphony Orchestra. “There’s a sense of ease, of tranquility when you’re playing at a concert. There’s a sense of unity as we try to play the best we can to impress anyone sitting in that auditorium. But it’s the people, the friends you make during this whole process—that is why I love orchestra.” 

Congratulations to all the talented musicians and conductors on a truly remarkable and memorable Fall String Concert.

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