The Middletown Orchestra program is one of the oldest orchestra programs in the US (according to The Instrumentalist magazine). Orchestra is offered to all students as an elective beginning in 6th grade and is part of the students’ school day. Students in all grades benefit from participating in orchestra in many ways; students are part of a ‘team,’ playing an instrument enhances brain development, and provides a well-rounded education for all learners. All levels of orchestra perform from multiple genres and produce several formal concerts each school year. There are two ability-based orchestras at the high school. MHS orchestra students can also participate in pit orchestra, electric orchestra, symphony orchestra, and various chamber groups. Our orchestra has earned Excellent ratings at State Orchestra Contest, and recently won first place at a Chicago-area competition. Our solo and ensemble contest participants have earned Superior and Excellent ratings consistently over the past four years. The MHS Orchestra has had numerous students earn college scholarships for their talent, and many have been accepted to college to pursue music.
Here are some descriptions of the various orchestras at MHS:
- Symphony Orchestra- an auditioned, selective group for musicians who are self-motivated and seeking to challenge themselves with higher-level repertoire
- Concert Orchestra- a chamber-orchestra-sized ensemble that focuses on fundamentals and teaching repertoire. The smaller size of this ensemble allows for more personal attention for each student and their individual learning needs
- “Full” Orchestra- Symphony Orchestra students and select Wind Ensemble students collaborate to prepare standard symphonic literature or popular orchestral standards. This gives wind and percussion students the experience of playing as a soloist in an orchestral setting.
- Pit Orchestra- select string, wind, and percussion students have the opportunity to play professional pit orchestra music for school musicals. This is a rigorous performance opportunity and requires a large time commitment, as well as a commitment to prepare parts (the very same parts that professional musicians in Broadway orchestra pits are playing!)
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