Middle school performing arts groups win 11 singing and instrumental awards

By Aaron Lyons

The Middle School Symphony, Vocal Ensemble and Madrigals were given the Festival Sweepstakes Trophy for having the highest combined scores of any other junior high school at the Heritage Music Festival on April 16 and 17 at Disneyland. They competed with other schools from Alabama, Alaska, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin, along with two schools from Alberta, Canada.

The Vocal Ensemble received the Gold Award, a plaque for first place in the Women’s Choir Division. Madrigals received the Gold Award for first place in the Mixed Concert Choir Division and a trophy for Most Outstanding Choral Group at the festival in the Junior High and High School 1A division. Together, Vocal Ensemble and Madrigals received a trophy for the Festival Award, which was given to the top two scoring choirs at the festival.

Sydney Cheong ’12 is the Concert Master of the Middle School Symphony and received two awards for her performance. As Concert Master, she begins each performance for the entire group, playing the notes that coordinate the ensemble and allow each player to tune his or her instrument. To earn this position, however, she had to distinguish herself not just as a team player, but also as a strong solo performer.

“Everyone was so enthusiastic and excited. I’ve never seen that many HW students with so much school spirit. I think everyone was proud of themselves and proud of the groups and proud of our school. We were all really excited for each other,” Cheong ’12 said.

After having earned her position within the school, the festival recognized her individually as well; she received the Maestro Award for having the best solo overall. The solo she performed was from the Symphony’s performance of “Dance Macabre,” by Saint-Saens, a piece that they have been rehearsing in preparation for this performance. Cheong also received the Service Award, which was presented to her by Disneyland, for her contributions both to her school and to the community at large.

The Middle School Symphony received the Gold Award and a trophy for the Most Outstanding Orchestra at the festival, both in the Junior High Division. It also was presented with the Adjudicator’s Award. This was given to the instrumental music ensemble at the festival in the Junior High Division that ranked the highest from the perspective of the adjucator.

The group were also presented with the Gold Festival Certificate, an award that rewards the ensembles that perform at the most advanced level at the festival. The Symphony, Vocal Ensemble and Madrigals were the only groups to receive the award in the Junior High Division. Emily Reola, Department Chair of Instrumental Music, explained that being honored in this manner opens up a number of different opportunities for the programs in the future.

“It is an invitation to perform along with other elite ensembles from other Heritage Festivals at special venues, such as Carnegie Hall,” Reola said.