Orchestra sweeps stage receiving sweepstakes at UIL


Victoria Lien

Rather than going to a school to perform, the UIL orchestra competition was held entirely virtually this year where all orchestras received sweepstakes.

Erika Pernis, Staff Reporter

With a mix of both face-to-face and virtual orchestra students, four of the orchestras participated in the UIL Concert and Sight Reading Adjudication this year.

For assistant orchestra director Victoria Lien, it was enjoyable to be able to perform again and see the students work hard and confidently with a smaller group.

“It was great to make music again and put on a performance for the first time in a year,” Lien said. “The students all worked incredibly hard on this music and we as directors are proud of the progress that they’ve made and the courage that each student displayed with a much smaller ensemble.”

Junior Julia Johnson was satisfied with their performance and results.

”UIL went well,” Johnson said. “We got our scores back the other day, and every orchestra got sweepstakes and nice comments from the judges.”

UIL looked a little different this year, as it was the first time the competition has been completely virtual with recorded concert and sightreading, rather than traveling to a school. The aspect of recording and having a smaller ensemble was the biggest difference for Johnson.

“The main difference this year was that it was recorded and not live in front of judges. We recorded a couple weeks ago in the auditorium during class and then sent the tapes off to the judges to be scored,” Johnson said. “Another big difference was that our group was significantly smaller this year since most of our orchestra is virtual. Only eight of us recorded for UIL, we had to make sure we knew our parts well.”

Junior Jeremy Lin also agrees the lack of musicians affected how they performed.

“It was very different from last year as we had much less musicians than in years previous, which forced each player to play louder and more dramatic.”

With only a few in-person rehearsals, the pandemic, and missed school days, orchestra students were still able to pull off an excellent performance according to Lien.

“We also only ‘took’ the students who were Face to Face or who were virtual and came up to the school to rehearse to UIL because it is incredibly hard to rehearse music online and put it together in person with only a few rehearsals,” Lien said. “Despite the pandemic and the winter storm and any other wrenches in our original plans, that didn’t make a difference in the performance and the students all performed great.”