San Joaquin County’s finest musicians performed at the 60th Annual San Joaquin County High School Honors Concert on Jan. 10. Ten of the 62 members in the Honors Strings Orchestra were Bruin students.
Every year, the San Joaquin County Office of Education partners with the San Joaquin County Music Educators’ Association (SJCMEA) and the Delta College music department to host a honors concert for high school and middle school students.
Choir, orchestra and band students audition to be in the concert in the fall. All Bear Creek orchestra students applied as orchestra teacher David Collum made auditioning a part of the students’ grade.
Freshman Abigail Maina and Keith Mandujan, sophomores Melissa Aleman-Mendoza and Sophia Michaleto, juniors Aidan Backus, Grace Maina and Ayocuan Pacheco and seniors Justin No, Eun Sang Park and Zachary Victorio were all accepted.
The students had two auditions: one pre-recorded and the other live. During the live auditions, seating was also determined: the higher the seat, the higher the rank. Pacheco, in addition to be selected as first seat, was selected as concertmaster, and Park, as well as being chosen for second seat, was selected to be assistant concertmaster.
Immediately after auditions, if accepted, students had rehearsal.
There were a total of four rehearsals for the concert. Each rehearsal lasted from two to five hours with one or two breaks in between.
“The practices were time consuming but it was all worth it in the end,” Victorio said.
The conductor, Thomas Tatton, wanted to ensure that everything was as perfect as possible.
“Our conductor wanted a lot of sections pinpoint accurate,” Park said. “We would go over the same measure five to six times.”
As concertmaster and assistant concertmaster, Pacheco and Park helped the conductor and primarily led the violins.
Pacheco said the experience as concertmaster was an honor but brought pressure along with it.
“There’s more pressure on you because, if you mess up, everyone else behind you mess up,” Pacheco said. “After knowing that I was concertmaster, I dropped a lot of weight because of all the preparation.”
On Jan. 10, the Atherton Auditorium was filled with hundreds of people eager to witness the county’s talent.
Honors String Orchestra performed after Honors Choir and before Honors Band. The orchestra played a total of four songs: “Hungarian Dance #5” by Johannes Brahms, “Viola Country” by Richard Meyer, “Lullaby” by William Hofeldt and “Air on the G String” by Johann Sebastian Bach.
The orchestra elicited a lengthy and loud applause from the audience.
“I think we as a group sounded phenomenal,” Park said. “We were able to confidently perform in front of an audience with fewer than 20 hours of practice together as group.”