Repertory Orchestra performs at statewide festival

Hans Janovy Meyer, page editor

Violins and violas vibrantly harmonizing, basses booming, and cellos playing with canorous cadences are all familiar sounds to anyone who may pass by S350. However, it is not so often that students can hear these same sounds performed inside a world-class concert hall, and it is even less often that high school students are the ones doing the performing. However, on April 15th, the Edina High School Repertory Orchestra did this exactly.

The Minnesota String & Orchestra Teachers Association’s Middle-Level Orchestra Festival is an annual festival for orchestras comprised of students from grades 6-9 across the state to perform for a panel of judges. The judges then assess the orchestra’s performance and rank them on a scale from 1-5 based on a variety of criteria. Proper techniques, such as tone and rhythm, are assessed as well as other factors, such as playing posture and etiquette.

The festival is divided into two tiers, with students progressing from the first tier to the second tier based on their first tier ratings. The first tier of the competition took place at three different locations during February and March. Competing in Faribault on March 6th, the EHS Repertory Orchestra earned two Surperiors with Distinction, the highest honor at the first tier, qualifying them for the second tier of the festival, a showcase of the first tier performances at Orchestra Hall.

Taking place on April 15th, the Repertory Orchestra played for a sold-out crowd of more than 2,000 audience members. “It feels wonderful[to have performed at orchestra hall]… [I feel] a sense of thankfulness that the kids were able to receive accolades for all the work that they put into everything this year,” Mrs. Kristine Wiese, Repertory Orchestra director and Orchestra teacher said. The orchestra had been hard at work for weeks and months preparing the pieces performed at the festival.

“I mean, it didn’t feel like it was different from other concerts just because you’re so focused on like, the conductor and everything, but just kind of knowing you’re in such an important place that like, the really important people have performed in it is a little bit scary and nerve wracking,” Rosie Larson, a freshman and violist in the Repertory Orchestra said.