By Sophia Xiao

Hundreds of band and orchestra students from Piedmont Hills High, Sierramont Middle and Piedmont Middle School performed together in their annual collaboration concert on Jan. 20.  Audience members packed the L-Building to watch the concert titled “The Sounds of Winter.”

“I think it was a big success,” said band teacher Myles Ellis.  “We got lots of parents and students in the audience to come see our concert from the middle school. That’s why we do this, in order to have the incoming parents see what the music program is like.”

The middle schools’ Advanced Bands and Orchestras each performed two songs on their own and a third song with Piedmont Hills Concert Band and String Orchestra.  However, practicing together was difficult under the circumstances.

“What we did was (orchestra teacher) Ms. Ray and myself went over and we worked with the middle schoolers at their school. And then we could report back to our groups: they take it this fast, or they’re having a little trouble over here… That was the best we could do.  There was no way to get all of those people together in one place at one time, so it just kind of had to work,” explained Mr. Ellis.

Although the different schools hadn’t worked together until the actual concert, the students paid close attention to the conductors and were able to use the advice from Mr. Ellis and Ms. Ray to deliver a strong performance together.

After the middle school students finished playing all their pieces, Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble each took the stage to showcase what Piedmont Hills’ music program.  Symphony Orchestra’s first piece, the Andante movement from Haydn’s Surprise Symphony, was conducted by senior and Sierramont Graduate Jerry Yen instead of Ms. Ray.

“Conducting in front of just people in general is really nerve wracking, especially when you first get on stage and do that first beat. A lot of the times the problem is that the orchestra can’t come in together, especially since I’m an amateur conductor,” admitted Jerry.  “It’s nerve wracking, but once you get into the groove of it, it’s a lot of fun.”
Piedmont Hills hopes to continue this tradition in later years in order to keep bringing more incoming students into the music program.

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