On January 21, the All-Southern Honors Orchestra Concert took place at the Hyatt Orange County in Garden Grove. A small group of five AHS students, including - Shannon Cheng, William An, Janice Wu, Krista Lombardi, and Ashley Loh - were able to embark on a musical journey and attend a week-long music camp in preparation for the concert.
The organization behind this event, Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association (SCSBOA), is a non-profit music enrichment program. SCSBOA’s primary goal is to provide opportunities for teachers and students to grow professionally, like this special concert. Other developmental resources include clinics, evaluation performances, conferences, and even meetings with professional musicians.
One of the young musicians who attended, Shannon Cheng, shared her experience. “It was cool playing with new conductors and seeing their style. However, the conductor we played with was confusing with her count-off but nonetheless interesting!”
From the event, Shannon also described how nice the piece selections were, her favorite being Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.5.
Although this honorable concert seemed exciting for Shannon, there were some downsides to how exhausting it was. “The whole experience was very mentally tiring as we aged for so many hours but the end was rewarding.”
Another AHS attendant was cellist William An. As he said, “It was really tiring but exhilarating at the same time.”
For preparation, he spent a lot of time practicing and reviewing the pieces they would perform. At the music camp, William explained, “It was nerve-wracking to go in blind with a completely new set of performers and conductor, but it was an experience to learn and grow with each other in two days.”
Another common obstacle William found was adapting to a whole new conductor. “Getting used to the conducting style took a bit of time but it was all a part of the process.” But the event went mostly smoothly and well for William, as he felt prepared and knowledgeable about the course.
Overall, the All-Southern Honors Orchestra Concert is a chance of a lifetime given to those who musically challenge themselves. Even though both Shannon and William said this was tiring and rigorous, they said the process helped create bonds with other new musicians, while learning to adapt to new music groups outside of their comfort zone. In the end, both attendants felt accomplished to have participated in this experience.