From the RCJ story (Central orchestra scores top prize at national competition, March 20):
The Central High School Chamber Orchestra won the top prize at the National Orchestra Festival in Kansas City this weekend.
The orchestra’s 30-minute set drew raves from judges for the high school musicians’ attention to nuance and dynamics. At a Friday night awards banquet, the group won the first place award for high school orchestras and the grand prize for best orchestra in all age groups.
My "Rapid Reply" comments, from the RCJ website:
They were selected as the finest in the NATION.
To even get to the national competition, they had to submit recent repertoire and a recording. Just being selected for the national competition was a big deal. They not only won the high school string orchestra category, but among all middle school and high school string and symphonic groups that competed at the event.
I was there (Click at right to play video) and the performance was followed up by a teaching session from a professional violist and teacher of international reputation, who said that hearing them play totally made the trip to Kansas City for him. The exact words he used were "jaw dropping" and the kids were totally blushing.
Their behavior and performance should make Rapid City proud. It should be noted these are not all well-to-do kids who even have the money for lessons (though of course most of them do find a way to make that happen.) And, their accomplishment is one of the entire string program across town; it comes from years of hard work by teachers, parents and kids -- including the excellent string players from Stevens and STM that play with these kids at camp and at all-city and all-state events.
Something that occurred to me is some of these kids would not have even been there (and therefore this may not have happened) if it wasn't for the commitment in 2007 shown by many, including Stan Adelstein with a generous donation, to keep elementary and middle-school orchestra programs in school during the school day.