Over the past two months, Mr. Damon Dye’s string orchestra class has been rehearsing for the annual orchestra adjudication. This year’s adjudication will be held on March 18 at Catoctin High School.
The orchestra has 16 members from all grade levels and is made up of violin, cello, viola, and bass players.
At adjudication, the orchestra will be asked to perform three pieces, which have been approved by the Maryland Orchestra Directors Association, and one sight reading piece, meaning they have not seen or practiced it in advance. Dye has been practicing various sight reading pieces with the orchestra to ensure that they will do well with any piece given to them, no matter the difficulty.
The three pieces that the orchestra will be performing are Fiddle O’Finnigan, for the warm up piece which will not be judged, April, and The Blacksmith. April is a very calm and mellow piece, while Fiddle O’Finnigan and The Blacksmith are much more upbeat.
“My favorite piece would have to be Fiddle O’Finnigan because of how lifting it is and how happy, fun, and spunky the piece is. It keeps you holding on for more,” said violin player Hannah Charles.
Dye has selected pieces composed in various keys and styles, so that the judges will be able to hear the range and talent of the performers.
“I wanted to pick a variety of interesting styles that fit our ensemble and I’m also limited by the state approved list,” said Dye.
Over the past few years, the orchestra has always earned Rating I, which is the highest possible score. Dye is hoping that the group will be able to achieve this again this year because it also allows the group to advance to the Maryland state level adjudication.
Unfortunately, the orchestra always has the disadvantage of having orchestra class during the spring semester. Many other schools that play at adjudication have year-long schedules, so they have been able to practice their pieces since September instead of January. However, members of the orchestra still feel ready to perform.
“We have definitely improved on intonation over the past few weeks,” said Dye.
The orchestra also will be performing these pieces along with several others at the spring concert on May 7.