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High School Orchestra Program

The string program in the Belmont Public Schools has long been considered a model for orchestral programs across the state. Led by Margot Reavey, the BHS Orchestras have consistently rated among the top instrumental ensembles in New England, earning Gold Medals at the annual MICCA Festival and being selected by the Massachusetts Music Educators Association to perform at the MMEA All-State Conference in Boston (2014).

Margot Reavey, director

Concert Orchestra

Concert OrchestraThe Concert Orchestra generally includes 60-70 students, and is open to continuing string players in grades 9-12. The Orchestra performs string and full orchestra music from a range of historical periods and twentieth century, including jazz and eclectic styles. Students will study the different bowings, articulations, dynamics, keys and nuances associated with each composition. This ensemble performs at Stringarama, the High School Winter and Spring Concerts, the “POPS” Concert, and at the annual MICCA Concert Festival. Additional concerts may be scheduled with guest artists and for high school graduation. Periodically, the Concert Orchestra will travel and participate in out-of-state festivals. Requirements: Participation in all scheduled performances is required; completion of two semester playing reviews, two brief writing assignments (1 per semester), and in-class playing quizzes.

Chamber Orchestra

Chamber OrchestraThis smaller, 25-member honors ensemble is selected each September by audition and permission of the instructor; all students perform in Concert Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra for the year. Chamber Orchestra requires attendance at one additional mod per week. Individual playing reviews are held each quarter with required repertoire. In addition, students will play in small chamber ensembles for a Winter performance.

Performances

The BHS Concert and Chamber Orchestras perform a wide variety of classical and contemporary music from the string orchestra and full orchestra repertoire and perform in several concerts each year, including a Halloween Concert, String-o-rama All Town Concert, High School Winter and Spring Performances, and an annual Pops Concert. Students also perform in a Winter Solo & Ensemble Concert and perform at BHS graduation ceremonies. The BHS Orchestras also participate in the annualMassachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association (MICCA) Festival.

Travel & Guest Artist Residencies

In selected years, the orchestras and the BHS bands participate in performance tours to various locations. These trips are intended to provide students with the experience of performing for new audiences in exciting locations while also taking in the musical and artistic culture of the selected desintation. Recent tours have taken the orchestras to Chicago (2013), Montreal/Qubec City (2011), Los Angeles/San Diego (2008), and Austria (2006).

The BHS Orchestras regularly have the opportunity to work with world-reknown guest artists. Past artist residencies have included: Darol Anger and the Republic of Strings (‘08), Hanneke Cassel and Natalie Haas Fiddling (‘09), DBR (‘10), and the Jeremy Kittel Band (‘13). These residencies have been graciously funded through the Foundation for Belmont Education (FBE) and Parents of Music Students (POMS).

Concerto Competition

Each fall the orchestra hosts a solo competition for ensemble performers (string, band, or choral) in Grades 6-12. Two winners are selected annually to perform with the full orchestra on our Spring Program. For more information about the Concerto Competition, please contact Margot Reavey.

 

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Our mission is to educate all students in a supportive, nurturing and challenging environment by providing them with the skills, knowledge, and opportunities for expression in art, music, drama and dance that enable them to participate actively as consumers and makers of the arts in a diverse global community.

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