Bowties and violins

Karishma Mehrotra

   String and Chamber Orchestra tightened their ties and flaunted their acquired talent for a filled auditorium on a fall Thursday night.                                                                    

On Thursday, Oct. 15 at 7:10 p.m., 50 parents, grandparents and siblings lined up in front of the MVHS Auditorium. They either politely filled up the seats or ran up to snap pictures of the group on stage, ready to watch 127 tense hands clutching their instruments—127 concerned faces glancing between their sheet music and their conductor. The 127 students in full formal attire and pencil skirts were the MVHS String and Chamber Orchestra.

For the first performance oMembers of the Monta Vista String and Chamber Orchestra balance and play the basses with care and elegance at their performance on Thursday, October 15 in the auditorium. Photo by Karishma Mehrotraf the year, they were ready to showcase what they have learnt in the past six weeks. The class bustled onto the stage, lively teenagers with a few laughs and giggles. They played some extraneous music and instruments. But when the conductor walked in, the atmosphere immediately changed. The conductor began the performance with an introduction: "We have accomplished a lot in the first six weeks of school." The musicians looked up for their cue and the chaos disappeared. They straightened their posture and everything snapped into place.  The violin sticks accurately jolted together at every note and the music sheets flipped together after every page in a wave of uniformed motion. Their heads faced down but their eyes looked up. You could tell they were kids when they flipped their bangs out of their anxious eyes but these people aren’t the same teenagers that walked in. They have settled with complete seriousness now. After all, could you imagine sporting a cello on your body or a violin jammed against your Adam’s apple? You’d probably have a stern look, too. 

The music was the direct opposite of the performers’ intensity. The first piece by the String Orchestra, "Symphony No. 3" by Fran Joseph Haydn, had many soft and light lullaby moments with smooth inclinations to higher notes. Occasionally, there would be a sense of urgency in the music with an uplifting tempo. The combination of instruments was so majestically intertwined that it was impossible to separate individual voices. The other pieces, Largo by Antonin Dvorak, Barcarolle by Jacques Offenbach, and Danse Bacchanale by Camille Saint Saens, were just as blissful. The Chamber Orchestra fashioned a different type of tune. They included plucks of the string that could take your imagination to Carlton’s dance on "The Fresh Prince of Belair". The transitions between the fast and deep notes to the slow and lighter melody were fluent to the point of seamlessness. You were on the set of "Disturbia" at one moment and at the Land of Oz at another. 

The Chamber Orchestra finished with an exciting twist in the last piece, "Spanish Dance" by D. Shostakovich. They added two guitars which spiced up the song and added a little latino flavor. At the end of the performance, enthusiastic parents  up to congratulate their little Beethovens and carried their instrument cases for them. Then the Beethovens took out their black headbands and loosened their tie and went home after a successful achievement.