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Arcadian All-Southern Honors Orchestras Members

This year, one of our conductors and one of our students were selected to be part of this year's SCSBOA Annual Conference. Here's more about their experience:

SCSBOA and the Annual Conference

The Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association, or SCSBOA was formed in 1937 with the aim of benefitting and providing enrichment opportunities for school music programs. Today, they serve over 1,000 schools in the SoCal area. Each year, they host the SCSBOA Annual Conference, at which top music students who have auditioned and been selected perform in their respective honor groups. These include strings, band, and even jazz groups.

Representing Arcadia in the conference this year was our AHS Symphony Orchestra’s concertmaster, Martina Chen. She performed at the Hyatt Regency Orange County last month as part of the All-Southern High School Honor Orchestra this year, conducted by Sameer Patel. Next, we’ve asked her a few questions about her thoughts on the whole experience.

About the Experience with Martina Chen

If you’d like, tell us a few things about yourself!

I have five pet birds, I’ve been playing violin for 9 years, and I compose and arrange music.

What was it like auditioning for your spot?

Honestly I didn’t practice that much since this was also around the time we had the Winter Concert and I had to practice Winter, so I wasn’t expecting much. It was pretty scary since in the warm-up room, everyone was practicing and they all sounded way better than me. The judge was completely devoid of emotion.

What were your thoughts on the pieces you played? How was it practicing (at home or at rehearsal) and performing them?

I really liked the pieces we played. They were ridiculously difficult (Death and Transfiguration by Richard Strauss and Finding Rothko by Adam Schoenberg) but they were also cool pieces. In the rehearsals, we didn’t go over technique at all. In school rehearsals we would go over difficult runs a few times, but in the SCSBOA rehearsal, we only focused on musicality. I was placed in the last row of the second violins (about 5th from last chair) and the conductor was very expressive, so it was hard to follow along. I messed up so much in the performance, but it was nice to be playing with musicians of my level or better. It motivated me to improv

Did you have a favorite part or specific thing from the entire experience? What about the most challenging part?

I liked the professional setting. We didn’t have to stop and work on particular parts the way you would in a school orchestra. The most challenging part was following the conductor. The people around me kept dragging - I assume they’re good soloists but not so used to being part of an orchestra - and it was hard to tell which beats were downbeats.

More Arcadian Representation

Our own conductor, Ms. Pin Chen was also in the Annual Conference, where she conducted the All-Southern Middle School Honor String Orchestra, which was one of two middle school honors orchestras (pictured below).

She led the orchestra through three rehearsals, two the weekend before on Saturday and Sunday from 9 AM to 4 PM, and then a final 2 hour rehearsal just before the performance.

Below: Ms. Chen (Right), Martina Chen (Middle), Sameer Patel (left)

We'd like to congratulate both Martina and Ms. Chen for their appearances in the conference among the most prestigious high school musicians and conductors of the Southern California area this year, and thank them for representing our music program and school at a higher level. We hope to see more Arcadia Apaches at the conference in the future as well!

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