We have two orchestras, Intermediate and Advanced, and orchestra musicians are enrolled in a year long class. Usually by the spring concert, they intermediate students are proficient enough to join the Advanced Orchestra students in performance. Every spring the Intermediate and Advanced Orchestra combine to participate in the Saddleback College Festival. The purpose of the Festival, consistent with the four components in the California State Framework, is to help evaluate aesthetic perception (perceptual and conceptual development), creative expression (musical skills development), musical heritage (historical and cultural), and aesthetic valuing.
Also in the spring semester we form a Symphonic Orchestra, adding interested wind players to the group. They then practice out of class during tutorials and/or after school. There are four concert performances throughout the year in the Performing Arts Theater. Our string group is especially adept at performing the original works of history’s greatest composers.
We also have an electric strings program. The Electric Strings is a group of independent students who perform on electric versions of classical stringed instruments. It is an amazing experience to perform on such different and beautiful instruments. Aside from this, the Electric Strings group also has the unique opportunity of being able to choose and arrange the songs that they perform and they play an important role in working together to figure out how all of the pieces will come together. Auditions are not required to join the group, and there is the possibility forming of multiple groups if people are interested as well. The minimum time commitment is meeting as a group at least once a week outside of class, either during tutorial or lunch, sometimes even more regularly in order to better prepare the pieces.
The top members of our orchestra also form the Pit Orchestra each spring, combining with the entire performing arts department in the production of Broadway musicals. Our Pit Orchestra has recognized as the best pit orchestra for the trifecta The Spirit of the Macy award for Best Orchestra, Cappies Best Orchestra, and Best Student Orchestra JRAY (John Raitt Awards for Youth) 22 times in the last 23 years!!
Our orchestras consistently receive superior ratings. Our string Orchestra performs in Disneyland at Music in the Parks every year, and also at Segerstrom Hall. In March of 2017, the full symphony Orchestra performed at Carnegie Hall!