Chamber Orchestra auditions will be held during lunchtime and advisory on Tuesday November 1st and Thursday November 3rd. Auditions are open to advanced violin, viola, cello and double bass players in grades 6-8, even if they are not currently enrolled in one of the WH Orchestra classes. The ensemble meets for ten rehearsals during Tuesday and Thursday advisory, and will perform in the RVSD Strings Concert on January 25th. In the audition, students will be required to play part of a solo piece they know well, play two or three scales to test intonation, and do a short piece of sight-reading. Contact Mrs. Montgomery for more information.
Off the Grid is this Tuesday, October 18th!
The 7th & 8th Grade Advanced Orchestra has been booked to play at Off the Grid food truck event at Red Hill in San Anselmo on Tuesday 18th October! Swing by and enjoy some music and delicious food between 6:30 and 8:00pm.
Happy new school year! I am very excited about what's coming up. I'm planning fun and challenging music for both 0 period and 1st period classes.
0 period (6th grade) students - I hope you're looking forward to having orchestra every day, rather than just once a week! There are great students signed up for the class! You'll have the opportunity to try out viola and double bass if you wish.
Please could all students bring their instruments on the first day if possible (don't worry bass students - I will find an instrument for you!), especially if you use a full size violin, as I am running short of those! Hopefully I will be able to allocate an instrument for each student to use at school.
The 7th and 8th Grade Advanced Orchestra, along with White Hill's Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, Chorale and Chamber Choir, held their end-of-year Spring Concert at the James Dunn Theater at College of Marin on Monday 23rd May. It was a great experience to perform in a real performance venue, with stage, lighting and acoustic shell, rather than the school gym! We are so grateful to Trevor Bjorklund and the COM music department for helping to arrange this event. As well as performing two pieces on their own, the Orchestra collaborated with the Chorale and Chamber Choir to present excerpts from Vivaldi's Gloria. Congratulations to all involved for an extremely successful concert showcasing the commitment, passion and talent of our students!
The 6th Grade String Ensemble performed in a joint concert with the Chamber Orchestra, 5th grade string players, 5th grade chorus and 6th Grade Concert Choir. They played extremely well and really inspired the 5th graders! The Chamber Orchestra performed the first movement of Bach's Concerto for Two Violins, with Luci Paczkowski and Shayna Thurston as soloists. Their playing was superb and it was hard to believe that they are only eighth graders!
I will miss all of our wonderful eighth graders, who graduate from White Hill on Thursday June 16th. They have been diligent, motivated, responsible, caring, and witty members of our orchestra family, and they've enabled the orchestra program to grow this year and achieve our fantastic results. It has been a privilege to share this part of their life's journey and I wish them all the greatest success.
White Hill 6th Grade and Advanced Orchestras took part in the Music in the Parks Festival at Six Flags, Vallejo on Saturday May 7th. Both ensembles impressed the judges and were rated "Superior", coming first in their categories! The Advanced (7th and 8th grade) Orchestra also won the award for Best Overall Middle School/Junior High String Orchestra in the competition! I am incredibly proud of our students, who worked so hard for this achievement. White Hill's 6th Grade Concert Choir, 7th/8th Grade Festival Choir, and 6th Grade Concert Band also took part in the festival, and were all rated "Superior", coming first in their respective categories! In addition, White Hill was awarded the Esprit de Corps award for great character and conduct! Congratulations, White Hill!
The 6th Grade String Ensemble, and 7th & 8th Grade String Orchestra, took part in the CMEA Large Ensemble Festival in El Cerrito on Saturday April 2nd. The 6th graders played really well despite it being their first time participating in a festival, and received encouraging feedback from the adjudicators. They coped extremely well with playing in such a large auditorium, under pressure! The 7th & 8th graders performed well and were rated "Excellent" by the adjudicators. I was proud of their professionalism and responsiveness.
White Hill students had the privilege to be involved in the Cypress Quartet's Call and Response project once again this year. Cecily, Tom, Ethan and Jennifer visited the school and played selections of Beethoven's first and last string quartets. The students examined how his compositions changed during the course of his life, and in response to his personal experiences. Two memorable moments included the slow movement from his first string quartet, inspired by the tomb scene from Romeo and Juliet, and the final movement from his last quartet, "The Difficult Decision". Members of the quartet led a discussion with the students.and it was an amazing experience to be so close to such amazing musicians!
The following week, the students were invited to hear the complete performance of both Beethoven quartets, along with a new commission by composer Dan Coleman, at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco, which was a very special evening. The Cypress Quartet plays with a level of musicality, communication and sensitivity which was inspirational to the students and all audience members from around the Bay Area. The new composition by Dan Coleman was interesting and a strong contrast with Beethoven. Before the concert, he talked about his composing process and led a question-and-answer session with audience members.
The project was bittersweet, however, as the quartet has decided, after twenty fulfilling years of playing, that this is their last year together. We are so lucky to have been involved with Call and Response for the past two years. It's been such an amazing opportunity for us and we wish Cecily, Tom, Ethan and Jennifer all good wishes for the future!
Nine White Hill string players will be taking part in the Marin Music Educators' Association Honor Orchestra, which is taking place next week. After three intensive after-school rehearsals, the concert will be held at Ross School on the afternoon of Saturday 6th February. Representing White Hill will be: David Cho, Luci Paczkowksi, and Shayna Thurston (violin), Chenoa Grillet-Isaacs, Mia Lacy and Matt Wagner (viola), Ruby Otavka and Oakley Wood (cello), and Asher Thibeault (bass).
I am so proud of all the Ross Valley string players after an excellent Winter concert! The fifth graders did so well, especially since they had never played as such a large ensemble, combining the classes from all four elementary schools into an orchestra of 68 players! The sixth graders showed what is possible when a student has 45 minutes of music per day, rather than per week (as in fifth grade), and the Chamber Orchestra impressed the audience with works by Bach and Grieg. The 7th and 8th grade Orchestra showcased their impressive section of 7 cellos in Cellos, Ole!, brought the heartfelt warmth of Holst's Jupiter, and inspired the younger players with a soaring rendition of Across the Wind. All the players then joined together to perform Coldplay's Viva La Vida (with Todd Bernsdorf on drums), and I must admit I had a "heart-squeeze" moment when the fifth graders came in at the end!! Click on this post to see the program.