Published on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 by Kyle Alfaro
Many students like to get their mind away from school and like to do things like baseball, football, chess club, or go out for a run. Some others like to play for the Bryan High Orchestra.
“I love Orchestra cause it’s a great way to spend time with friends, and even make more friends.” Said sophomore Manuel Leija.
Under the guidance of the Zen Master himself, Mr.Lemons, the Orchestra program continues to improve. Lemons, has been teaching in BISD for over seven years, at various schools across the district including SFA, Jane Long, and Davila. And has directed the Orchestra program here for three.
“I’ve been in music since the 4th grade, from classes and life experiences. I then had the opportunity here in Bryan High to teach, and well look where I am now.”
The orchestra program consists of violins, violas, cellos and basses. Students in Orchestra vary from freshman to seniors, which allows students to learn and work with each other to improve their skills.
“It’s really fun to learn from the older people who play your instrument to improve your skills and just your overall play.” Said freshman Donovan Torres.
Each year students prepare solos and compete within the district, with hopes of advancing further. For senior violinist Stephanie Leon-Quiononez competing against other Orchestra students in other schools and improving her skills is a big motivation in continuing her playing the violin.
“I feel really delighted to be able to go to Austin and perform my solo infront of many judges. I am also very nervous, but I’m ready to perform”, said Stephanie about her going to Austin. “I’m also going to state for choir.”
Students are graded on a scale of 1-5, with five being the lowest, and one being the highest.
On the day of UIL, orchestra members await impatiently for the opportunity to play as an ensemble. Students perform collectively in front of three judges, and immediately after, compete solely in sight reading. After the concert performance and sight reading performance, scores are received almost immediately.
“It’s nerve racking, man. Espically for UIL, probably the biggest thing of the school year, it is so nerve racking.” Donovan Torres said about performing in UIL.
For UIL students are graded on a scale of 1-5, with one being the best, and five being the worst.Traditionally Bryan high receives high scores in sight reading, and this year was awarded a one. Unfortunately, scores in concert were lower, at a three.
“I feel great receiving good scores. I just love playing in the orchestra and I can’t wait next year to play again.” Added Manuel.
After UIL, the students are able to relax after an intense concert season, but continue to practice their music for the following year. As the program continues to grow and improve, many new changes are in store for upcoming students.
“I’m trying to incorporate more opportunities for the orchestra kids, like more music, and some awards for the children,” Lemons said. “But right now, I’m focused on introducing the kids to Smart Music, a program that gives the orchestra kids music to play in concert or just to play in class”
With hard work and dedication, the orchestra program has the absolute potential to bring their score of a three in concert up to a one and continue maintaining a flawless sight reading score.
“Honestly, I’d loved to see what’s in store for us next year, man.” Lemons said.