By Arthur Hoang
The PHHS Music Department performed at the CMEA (California Music Educators Association) Festival. The choral groups went on Sat., April 1 at Saratoga High School. The instrumental groups performed last Friday at Independence High School.
Each of the groups played three pieces of varying styles and difficulty to a panel of acclaimed judges and is given scores based on the performances. Overall, the String and Symphony Orchestra received a score of ‘Excellent.’
“The judges were definitely more picky than last year; they made more comments about the ensembles balance than usual,” said Cellist Aaron Tran.
The Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, and Varsity Choir all received an overall score of ‘Excellent’ as well. The Concert Choir received an overall score of ‘Unanimous Superior’, the highest score a group can get.
When the Music Department got back from its Anaheim trip, it had very little time to practice for CMEA.
“We had four weeks from Anaheim and the Symphony Orchestra was given one new piece to get ready before CMEA,” said Orchestra teacher Emily Ray.
The Orchestra groups also had one new piece that that they had to prepare for CMEA. In addition, both instrumental and choral groups were also working on the pieces they had performed in Anaheim.
“The atmosphere for CMEA was definitely a lot worse than Anaheim but we (the concert choir) did a better job at CMEA,” explained vocalist William Chung.
The music groups were given constructive criticisms about their respective performances from judges during their time at Anaheim, and the groups and the teachers took those criticisms to heart to try to improve their music.
For the first time in three years, PHHS Instrumental group went to Independence High School instead of Evergreen Valley High School. Other years, both the instrumental and choir groups went to Evergreen for CMEA.
“Both Evergreen and Independence are running CMEA on the same days, but we chose to go to Independence because it was closer,” confessed Ms. Ray.
In addition to the change in venue, there was a date switch for the Instrumental groups. Initially, the performers were going to perform on Sat., April 8; however, that conflicted with Junior Prom for many of the students.