Weber State University Orchestras and String faculty hosted the fourth annual Honor Orchestra on Jan. 27, bringing together 10 local high schools and their top orchestra students for a night of orchestral music.
More than 150 people sat in Austad Auditorium as the students prepared to perform a concert comprised of six pieces. When the conductor Dr. Francisco de Gálvez walked out on stage, he greeted the crowd with a few words to thank parents for their support of music.
“It will only help them to develop positive habits of discipline and problem-solving,” Gálvez said.
The orchestra was made up of high school students who showed this discipline within their orchestral work. Each student was selected by their high school directors as being top of their class. After being selected for the honor orchestra, they received a small section of music to audition with.
The night before the concert, auditions were held for chair placement. After their placement auditions, the students received the concert music for the first time, had a quick rehearsal and were told to arrive at eight in the morning the next day to practice. They worked with high school students from different schools to hone their skills.
With the concert the same day, the students had to learn quickly while keeping a positive attitude.
Andrew Stapley, the orchestra librarian and event planner, said of the students, “Even though you could see people getting tired they still wanted to learn.” Stapley attested to how hard the high school students were working to prepare a concert in less than 24 hours.
Weber State also had volunteers and orchestra members playing along and teaching the high school orchestra members. This type of honor orchestra was based off the Utah All-State Orchestra put on by the Utah Music Educator Association every year.
Though the concert was small, only consisting of six songs, the student still showed their talent and skill.
“The speed and precision in which the high schoolers played were very impressive,” Weber State student Megan Anderson said. She showed up to this free concert to support friends, but she was impressed with how well the Honor Orchestra played, especially knowing their time constraints.
At the end of the concert, people gathered in the lobby to congratulate each other and take a picture with their new friends. Dr. de Gálvez said, “Many of us didn’t know each other yesterday.” He noted how the experience made quick friends of the participating students.
The pieces played were “Adagio (Theme from Spartacus)”, “Ani Ma’ Amin”, “Hungarian Dance no. 5”, “Cinema Paradiso”, Peer Gynt Suite” and “A Tribute to Henry Mancini.” The high schools involved were Bonneville High School, Clearfield High School, DaVinci Academy, Granger High School, Grantsville High School, Gunnison Valley High School, Kearns High School, Northridge High School, Ogden High School and Paradigm High School.