City’s best orchestra students collaborate


Megan Battleson

Riley Parham plays during the All-City Orchestra concert last week.

Megan Battleson, Staff Writer

Missing class is usually a case of students avoiding a test or staying home sick, however Tuesday, nine West students spent their day with other high school musicians striving for musical excellence.

Each year, middle and high schools in District 6 allow their string enthusiasts to become a part of the All City Orchestra. This year, directors from each school were allowed to select students that they thought would best contribute to the ensemble’s balance and represent their school well.

Digital auditions were sent in to determine the role of concertmaster and section leaders. Of the four parts of the orchestra, Greeley West students were section leaders in three, headed by a concertmaster, also from West. Junior, Andrea Grejada headed the violins as section leader, senior Saul Mercado led the viola section, junior Vincentius Fernando was the section leader for basses, and senior Mo Duran served as the ensemble’s concertmaster.

As the event is a day-long commitment, students were required to be in the Northridge band room by 8 a.m. ready for a three hour group rehearsal. After a brief one hour lunch where students were encouraged to fraternize with their musical peers, they resumed with another three hour session as a whole ensemble.

After six hours of rigorous practice, they came back to Northridge to prepare for the concert that the day’s work had led up to. The Northridge auditorium was flooded with friends, family, and string enthusiasts alike, all to support the young musicians. The night kicked off with the middle school All City group, who performed a series of four pieces. Each piece was conducted by a different band director from a participating school, including West’s own orchestra director Mr. Tom Nugent, who also teaches at Chappelow Middle School.

The concert continued with the high school ensemble, led by guest conductor and Assistant Professor of String Music Education at UNC, Dr. Lindsay Fulcher. The group of 26 also prepared a four piece repertoire. The group started with a quick piece with Irish inspiration, “Molly on the Shore”, and followed with a call -and-response song, “Drifen”. The ensemble drew the concert to a close with a more lyrical “Andante Festivo”, and finally the “Russian Easter Overture.”

The finale offered a solo by Duran and posed quite a challenge for the group, having a brief regrouping after struggling to recover after a tough transition. Despite the minor setback, the orchestra was able to resume the piece, and had “a very strong and confident end to the concert, once we swallowed our pride in those few seconds,” reflected Fulcher.

Grejada explained, “I really like it because we are all dedicated musicians, and the fact that we are able to come together and make music is beautiful.”