Laramie High School is having its chamber orchestra auditions on March 11.

 

Jennifer Lyford is currently the instructor of the orchestra classes, and was new to the program this year.

 

“There are a few prerequisites before chamber orchestra, Students take a class at the junior high or in high school take Freshman Orchestra,” Lyford said.

 

Chamber orchestra is typically a smaller orchestra composed of advanced string players. Auditions have three musical interval scales, chords broken into sequence and often an excerpt chosen by the instructor. 

 

In this audition there will be two excerpts which are short sections of what will be played by the chamber orchestra.

 

“A good way to practice the excerpts is to practice slowly at first and then a good strategy is to then slowly increase the tempo,” violinist Ted Riddle said.

 

During auditions they’ll be looking for good technique, tone, expression and how well individuals blend with and into the orchestra itself. 

 

“I think we’re looking for people who have been playing their instrument for a long time and are dedicated to the orchestra program,” Riddle said.

 

In chamber orchestra it requires a lot of practice both in and out of school. 

 

Later next year, it is required by all members to audition for all-state orchestra. 

 

All-state orchestra is composed of people from all around the state where in the future they are to rehearse for a concert. 

 

“The golden rule is, practice, lots and lots of practice,” Riddle said. 

 

Once students get in they will be able to take the class the very next year. To prepare themselves further, Riddle recommended students look into reading and playing pieces that they haven’t seen before and are unfamiliar with, to learn to play as many notes correctly as possible since learning new material is very important in the group.

 

A class may start off with certain warmups before practicing their true pieces. Classes may start off with tuning, scales and excerpts and notes to prepare for such things.

 

Currently the students of chamber orchestra are playing a piece called John Bow. 

 

“Our struggle with that piece is not so much to play the notes correctly, but it requires a lot of energy. Because, it takes a lot of energy to play well. There are different instruments heard in different places. It’s kind of like a conversation with different parts and different instruments. One will part will play a melody, and another will echo it,” Riddle said.

 

Orchestra is a good environment to meet new people and perfect your individual skill with your instrument alongside others and be part of a group.

 

“What I want students to learn is finding confidence in themselves and abilities. Also, to be prepared for college,” Lyford said.

 

Many members of the chamber orchestra are also part of pit orchestra, where they play for performances during theatre events such as Beauty and the Beast.