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The 2024 Orchestra Benefit Dinner: Stringpunk!

Written by: Faith Harnanto and Sarah Trang


On February 24th, the annual Orchestra Benefit Dinner (OBD) was held, where the guests experienced the timeless era of Stringpunk (steampunk)! Folks all across Arcadia came to support Arcadia High School and had a delicious feast, while being accompanied by several different chamber groups playing background music. Later in the evening, other student-led musical chamber groups performed a variety of pieces, including classical compositions, video-game and movie soundtracks, modern pop songs, and more! 



Starting off the recital strong, senior Arain Chgao performed Mozart’s famous “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” along with his group members: juniors Logan Valdez and Leo Peniche, and freshman David Gerges. Arain noted, “It was an enjoyable moment while I got to hang out with my members, especially if all of them have a passion for music. It made the experience ten times more fun.”


Another remarkable performance was done by senior violist Melissa Young. She played in an octet, naming themselves “DLTS” (their Instagram is @dlts.official!). After numerous rehearsals together, she reflects that she was proud of her performance. Melissa noted, “The energy was good, [and] it definitely showed that we practiced!” Her group was well “synergized,” allowing them to move together as an octet. Melissa was also part of a piano trio during the dinner showcase, mentioning that it was “one of [their] best runs.”


DLTS' performance!

Hosting a major orchestra event like this one couldn’t have been possible without the hard work from parent volunteers, Orchestra Council, and SMW members. Volunteers had been present at the Masonic Center since the night before, setting up decorations, serving food for guests, and making sure that the event would go as smoothly as possible. Dinner the night of the event was also catered by the local Downtown Arcadia restaurant, Matt Denny’s!



Many representatives from the city gathered at this big event, including the mayor of Arcadia, several School Board members, and the Arcadia Fire Department Chief, who is also an Arcadia Orchestras alumni! Another notable alumni, Richard Meyer, was proud to be OBD’s Master of Ceremonies, but that isn’t his only occupation. He is in fact a nationally renowned composer, who composed one of the finale pieces, “Steampunk.” The program also featured a set of whimsical numbers performed by this year’s guest artist, “Main Street.” The musical trio featured witty instruments like the washboard, trombone, and banjo that delighted the audience. 


Main Street's performance!

To close off this eventful night, all 200 orchestra students flooded the room and performed three pieces—- Richard Meyer’s “Steampunk,” Edward Elgar’s “Morning Song,” and hit pop song, “Clocks” by Coldplay. For the past few months, every student has been rigorously practicing to not only perfect the pieces, but also memorize every note. These pieces were not easy to memorize, but each student pulled through and ended the night off with a mesmerizing performance. Every guest table had an engaging and exciting experience!


The grand finale!

The 2024 Orchestra Benefit Dinner was an absolute success! Big shoutout and thanks to the amazing support of the Arcadia communities, guest appearances, and the hard-working parents and students! Stay tuned for 2025! It’ll possibly be an even better experience, since good things come in pairs!

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