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SCSBOA: All-Southern Honors Orchestra Musicians

SCSBOA is a non-profit organization that provides student musicians with the opportunity for musical development. A branch of this organization is the All-Southern Honor Orchestra, which provides a one hour rehearsal and two selected 30 minute elective courses, which the faculty offers for the musicians. For the 2021 school semester, two Arcadia Orchestras musicians, Sala Yu (Symphony Orchestra Viola Principal) and Ashlee Sung (Concert Orchestra Concertmaster), were accepted into the esteemed All-Southern Honor Orchestra. Congratulations to these wonderful musicians! In this Q&A, Sala and Ashlee would be sharing with us their experiences auditioning for and playing in the orchestra.


Sala Yu:

1. Please introduce yourself! How long have you played the viola and what made you stay with this instrument over the years?


Hi! I’ve played viola since 7th grade––switched from violin because it seemed new and interesting compared to the violin (sorry violins). I’ve stuck with it ever since, since viola has its own quirks that I have learned to appreciate from my private teacher and peers. Violists are also a lot more welcoming as a group, like a family :)






2. Why did you audition for SCSBOA?


I auditioned for SCSBOA because I find orchestral performances to be very fun and enriching, and although I did not get to experience it traditionally, I was interested in the masterclasses and electives that they offered.


3. What did you play for your audition? What do you think made you stand out from the rest of the people who auditioned?

I played excerpts from Beethoven and Brahms’ 3rd symphonies, in addition to a scale. Though we did not get feedback from our auditions, I think I did well from a technical standpoint!


4. What have you played in the All Southern Honor Orchestra thus far? What is your interpretation of the music?

We played Elgar’s Variations! When we analyzed the music, we discussed how each individual movement embodied a different person in Elgar’s life. His wife sounded very calm and elegant, while his patron had a quick excerpt like a breath of energy. His last movement, which was of himself, captured elements from all other movements (and was also the longest and grandest [because] he liked himself).


5. Can you describe your experience playing in such a prestigious orchestra? What are your takeaways?

We only had one brief online session with our conductor, which was spent analyzing our piece. It was a very in-depth look into what we would be performing, and helped me develop my part in a more stylistic lens. We also took multiple electives of our own choosing, and the topics covered felt very well-distributed in the short time we had. I took an improv class and found it very relaxing to just play tunes on the spot and completely changing the tone of the music with only a few different notes in the scale.


6. How does the SCSBOA experience differ from playing in the Arcadia Orchestras?

SCSBOA has a different environment, though it might also be because members did not have much time to interact with each other in our short rehearsal session. Since I enjoy viola for its nice community of people, it was kinda sad not being to talk to my section members, but I still enjoyed it nonetheless because of the deeper insight and reason behind our music.


7. What advice would you give to people who want to audition for more challenging or competitive orchestral environments, such as in SCSBOA?

Grind, but don’t burn out :) Procrastinating might get you results, but it can’t refine your playing as well as if you just practiced a little bit each day until the audition date. You also have to keep in mind that more competitive orchestras look specifically for orchestral players, not soloists and whatnot, so play like one if that makes sense (so prioritize rhythm/tempo/cues above things like being really lyrical and loose).



Ashlee Sung:

  1. Please introduce yourself! How long have you played the violin and what made you stay with this instrument over the years?

My name is Ashlee Sung and I have been playing the violin for 10-11 years. I’ve always loved music, and violin has always allowed me to express myself and my feelings.


2. Why did you audition for SCSBOA?

I auditioned because I thought that playing in a new orchestra with new people and new music would be a great experience.





3. What did you play for your audition? What do you think made you stand out from the rest of the people who auditioned?

I played the assigned scale and excerpts for the audition, and I think I could have stood out from the others because of how I interpreted the excerpts and played them in a unique style.


4. What have you played in the All Southern Honor Orchestra thus far? What is your interpretation of the music?

So far, we have played Enigma, CAE, WMB, Nimrod, and Finale of the Elgar Variations. I think that all the movements have contrasting dynamics and character; Nimrod is a very pretty slow movement, while Finale is more majestic.


5. Can you describe your experience playing in such a prestigious orchestra? What are your takeaways?

I think it was a fun experience, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn and discuss the Elgar Variations with a group and interpret in different ways. One thing I will always remember is that m.165 in Finale sounds like Khan Academy.


6. How does the SCSBOA experience differ from playing in the Arcadia Orchestras?

I think SCSBOA is a little different from the Arcadia Orchestras because we do less playing together and more discussing and individual playing.


7. What advice would you give to people who want to audition for more challenging or competitive orchestral environments, such as in SCSBOA?

I think they should do it because a new orchestra would be a fun experience for them, and I also think they should get creative with how they interpret their music.


Click to watch the All-Southern Honor Orchestra’s Spring 2021 performance of Elgar's Enigma Variations!


Congratulations to both Ashlee and Sala for their great achievements and opportunities as strong musicians. Thank you for representing the Arcadia Orchestras in this distinguished orchestra!


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