On Tuesday February 12, the Churchill Orchestra’s performed all of their UIL music for their parents and friends. UIL, which stands for University Interscholastic League, provides contests for extracurricular activities. As orchestra is an extracurricular course, it is included in UIL, and it’s one of the biggest competitions all year. When you arrive to the UIL competition room, you play in front of three judges who have a microphone to speak into. The judges will tell you everything they liked about the way the orchestra performed and the parts that they think needed some work. This contest means a lot to everyone in orchestra, especially the directors, so it’s always good to have a practice run to see where everyone is. That “practice run,” so to speak, was the concert yesterday. The orchestra students got dressed up in their black suits and dresses like usual and sat down to perform their pieces, all while people in the audience were recording them and making notes to themselves about the overall sound of the orchestra. No matter how well the orchestra’s do at the actual contest, they have still put in lots of hard work and effort to get to where they are today, and that is extremely commendable.
On Monday night, December 3, the Churchill Orchestra had their Christmas concert. This concert was special to many students, parents, and even the directors. The main orchestra director, Mr. Thibodeaux, even had his grandmother arrive to enjoy the holiday tunes. Because of how special this concert is to many, the orchestra has been preparing for it for months. Right after the Fall Concert, they jumped right into the Christmas season, and began to rehearse.
On the other hand, the orchestras did need lots of time to practice. They had over six songs to perfect in only around two months. To anyone that doesn’t play an instrument, that may seem like no big deal, but when you have several different orchestras, all at different skill levels, it can be extremely difficult.
Of course, all of that hard work does pay off in the end; everyone in the orchestra gets to have fun together and bond. After the concert is over, the students don’t have to look at that music for at least another year. Overall, these concerts, especially the holiday ones, bring everyone together. Whether it’s the violas or the cellos dancing during one of their songs, it’s clear that our Churchill Orchestra knows how to have fun, and plays almost perfectly at the same time.
You might be wondering what’s next for the orchestra. After this concert, competition season approaches, where each orchestra has to learn the songs that they will all end up playing together in front of a few judges. This season certainly promises a lot of stress for these students, but it’s nothing that they can’t handle. After all, they’re in orchestra. They can accomplish anything they set their mind to.
A movie night was held in the orchestra room on Tuesday, filled with lots of fun and laughter. This movie night wasn’t mandatory, but it was a fun thing for the different orchestras to do together.
“You might meet some people, but you tend to stay in your own circle,” Ninth grader Kylee O’Dwyer said.
These after school activities are a great way to meet others, but it’s completely okay to stick to the people that you know.The movie that the orchestra chose to watch was Hotel Transylvania; A very silly, fun movie that is perfect for this time of the year.
“Me and my friend Jocelyn are going to go to Valero to get snacks,” Kylee O’Dwyer said.
Though popcorn was provided for the students, many of them wanted to go and get their own treats. After all, a movie night wouldn’t be a movie night without piles of unhealthy, but delicious, food. The orchestra has had many get-togethers as of recent, which only proves that the orchestra can have fun too. Lots of what they do is work, but they always have time to let loose and hang out together.
“More! Free food!” Kylee O’Dwyer said when asked if the orchestra should have more or less hangouts.
These activities certainly are fun for those involved, and it helps solidify that family feeling that orchestra already has. Though orchestra is a tight knit family, they aren’t opposed to other students coming over to hang out as well.
“You have to be invited by someone in orchestra to go,” Lauren Lusk said.
So, if you hang out with any orchestra members, you too might be able to go to future movie nights and hangouts! They are always tons of fun, and you’ll undoubtedly make new friends as a result.
On Monday night, in the Lanny Naegelin Theatre, the Churchill Orchestra performed at their fall concert. This is the second concert that the orchestras have had, with the first being the highly anticipated Dinner Theatre.
“Dinner theatre was to prepare us for a real concert. I know that we’ll see others play and get the environment of what a concert is like,” Mehnaz Maureen said. Dinner Theatre helped ease many of the freshman students into orchestra, but in a really fun, creative way.
For three whole weeks, these orchestras have carefully crafted and perfected the songs they have to play. This included a couple of early practices, when all anyone wanted to do was get more sleep.
”I mean, I definitely wouldn’t say we practice too much, but we could practice more. Not overdo it like everyday or something though,” Drayla Darrough said.
Practice can be grueling for everybody, especially for those students that have other extracurricular activities to devote time and energy into. Nevertheless, practice makes perfect, and all of the orchestras really benefit from it.
Concerts and performances are also very beneficial for those a little frightened to be on stage. “When the spotlight’s on us, it’s not as nerve wracking,” Kayla Tran said.
Orchestra really does help people overcome their fears or phobias. It makes it easier for many to perform in front of others, which is a necessary skill for any musician to have. “You get over stage fright,” Andrea Calvillo said.
The night of the concert, everyone was alight with excitement, including the audience. The girls straightened out their dresses, the boys fixed their ties. For many students, this was their first time wearing orchestra attire in high school, and that feeling is like no other.
(When putting the dress on) “I felt proud like “Yeah, I’m in the Churchill orchestra!” Mehnaz Maureen said.
These outfits, though seen by many as boring or plain, do hold lots of pride for these orchestra students. For some, receiving and wearing these garments makes them feel like they’re really a part of the orchestra family.
This is just the beginning for our orchestra, and everyone is ecstatic for the future concerts, performances, and overall great memories that will be made. No matter what is in the cards for them, they will certainly rise up to the occasion, proving time and time again that they are up for any challenge.