Philharmonic, Symphony orchestras earn highest honors at state

Calista Busch | Staff Writer

On February 26, two of Mason High School’s orchestras, Philharmonic and Honors Symphony, took the stage in state competition.

Performing three prepared pieces and one sight-read piece for the judges, both Philharmonic and Symphony ended the competition with ratings of superior in all categories, the highest rating an orchestra can receive.

Both groups had been preparing the music since last fall. Freshman Leon Chang, first violin in Philharmonic, said the preparation they put into the competition paid off.

“We did a lot of practice,” Chang said. “It was stressful the week before, but it was worth it. We had to do a lot of practicing, but we pulled it together at the end.”

Orchestra teacher Stephanie Jones said she was very proud of the orchestras’ accomplishments and the progress they have shown over the course of the year.

“They did an amazing job,” Jones said. “They performed at the highest level, and we’re so proud of them. Not just for the accomplishments but because of the progress they made, their attention to detail and musicality.”

Senior Jake Laughlin, a bass in Symphony, said they entered the competition well-prepared and with expectations to do well.

“We went in with high expectations” Laughlin said. “We practiced with high expectations, and it worked out.”

During the competition, three adjudicators divide the performances, judging the prepared piece and the sight-read peice. Jones said the judges gave very high ratings and were extremely impressed with the performance.

“They were really impressed with the quality of sound (the orchestras) produced, the musicality and expression,” Jones said. “They said over and over how musical they were playing (and) how they were bringing the music alive.”

Jones said that while she was proud of the score, that wasn’t the most important part of the performance.

“It’s really not about that one moment, that one experience,” Jones said. “We want them to view the whole experience, everything that went into that performance–the process, their attention to detail, all of their hard work. It’s about their achievements over time.”