Band, orchestra members compete in annual festival

photo by Nicole Kwan

by Diana Diaz

Orchestra and band members will be participating in the annual SCSBOA (Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association) festival held at Montebello High School’s auditorium March 23 starting at 7:30 a.m.

Schools that will be participating include: Bell Gardens High School, Montebello High School, Eastmont Intermediate and La Merced Intermediate.

Students will be scored based on multiple aspects of their performance such as intonation (accuracy of pitch in playing), dynamics and rhythm.

“The general things like notes and rhythm are what you see first. Then you add the dynamics and the articulation. For superior you need all these and artistic concepts of blend and all the details,” said Antonio Castro, band director.

The possible scores for the festival range from poor, fair, good, excellent and superior. In the previous year, orchestra ended with a score of ‘excellent’ and band earned ‘unanimous superior’, meaning that all three judges had given the performance the same score.

“I want us to get superior this year. It’s my last year, so I’m looking forward to this. We can improve on some things, especially the underclassmen since they get nervous or lack in experience,” said Yen Vuong, senior, orchestra secretary.

Led by their instructors, the participants have been practicing their pieces in order to perfect their performances. Dr. Anne Rardin and Castro have been teaching their students how to do their parts as precisely as possible.

“We started working on the music back in late summer and we have it all learned. Now we’re just perfecting intonation, ensemble and tone quality,” said Rardin, orchestra conductor.

Rardin encourages the students that will perform to practice on their own, since students are only able to meet once a week as opposed to other schools in the district that meet every school day. Rardin also gives orchestra students tests and sectionals.

Additionally, band practices all week and has student led sectionals. Band is also expected to practice at home and learn the basics of the music; during school, their practice is considered rehearsal. By this time they are expected to learn everyone’s part to come together in a final performance.

“I am very excited about the festival, but I am also very nervous. I feel that the festival questions our abilities, and getting anything less than a unanimous superior would be heart-wrenching,” said Angel Ruiz, sophomore.

Admission to the festival is free, and anyone is welcome to attend. Snacks will be available and sold outside the auditorium to support Montebello band and orchestra.Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 9.41.13 PM

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