For the First Time in 4 Years…


Everyday at 11:35 am, during the start of 5th hour, the 2023 Orchestra class gathers for rehearsal in the far corner of the school in the music wing. When Christmas break concludes and school begins once again, the orchestra class immediately sets off to rehearse for the upcoming competitive season.


Each Spring semester, the Orchestra class, led by Mrs. Roberts, travels and/or participates in several musical festivals. During the beginning of March, the Orchestra travels to the hosting school of the All State Orchestra Competition, which occurred this year on March 2nd, around 2 weeks ago. 


Another competitive music festival that students participate in is the Solo and Ensemble Music Festival. During this optional but highly encouraged event, students choose to show up to perform solo, private-lesson music, or put together an ensemble to play a selected piece out of their comfort zones. Throughout just the months of March and April, a large amount of rehearsal time, dedication, and a wide variety of music must be prepared and ready to play. 


This proves to be a difficult feat when rehearsing in the month of February. With 4 day weeks almost every week, the amount of rehearsals runs short. 


Spring of 2022, the Orchestra traveled to Branson for the Music in the Parks music festival where the group performed several selections, among them, a piece from the soundtrack of West Side Story. Here, the group won the first place spot in their division, breaking their record from past years! 


Each year, without fail, Mrs. Roberts encourages and pushes her group to put out their best efforts and work. With 26 large, public high schools, WCA is the only private school that participates in the All-State competition, meaning that our orchestra is by far the smallest that performs. All this hard work has proven to pay off since our WCA orchestra has received the highest rating of Exemplary in the years of 2017, 2018, 2022, and 2023!


The All-State competition consists of two parts: the performance of our prepared pieces and then a Sight Reading challenge. The Sight Reading part of the competition causes most students to feel extremely nervous. For 6 minutes, students must analyze a new piece of music that has been put before them without talking. Once the 6 minutes are over, the orchestra attempts to play the new music to the best of their abilities. Amie Do, sophomore who has participated in the All State competition for the past 2 years, comments on her experience during the process, “I was extremely nervous to play and prepare, but I feel like we came together and had a strong Sight Reading performance.” 


Any person who participates in the orchestra class can agree that one of the contributors to why the class is so enjoyable is because of the people. Elizabeth Myers, 9th grade, plans to take orchestra for all 4 years of her high school career. She goes on to explain why she chooses to stick with this elective and its community: “orchestra gives me a chance to connect with people through the universal language of music.” Myers then comments on the social environment in the class: “It’s a great community of artists who are constantly encouraging each other.”