Montellano organizes mock UIL contest for orchestra

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Montellano organizes mock UIL contest for orchestra

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Symphony orchestra started off the 2019 contest season strong by starting their rehearsals off months in advance, unlike other years.

Orchestra Director Rachel Montellano created a mock competition this year with real judges to give the middle schools the opportunity to experience what UIL and SISD contest will be like. Montellano has been doing her best to allow the middle schools to get more involved with the high school functions. Hernando and Hambric middle schoolas had the chance to perform on stage and participate in sigh reading like a real competition.

“As a high school director, you need to involve the middle schools so that the kids want to come to El dorado. I want them to know me and feel comfortable around me so that when they do come they will hopefully like me better,” Montellano said.

In previous years, the orchestra would not start preparing for contest until February, which would only allow two months of practice, but this year Montellano decided to hand out her choice of competition music in October to make sure that the symphony would go into competition in March with near-perfect work. She had many reasons for starting this competition and she hopes to start a new tradition the will continue years to come.

“I wanted the students to prepare earlier, instead of waiting two weeks before the contest. The last two weeks should be used for details and making it more beautiful instead of fixing notes. Orchestra is not like band. They have many competitions to attend before UIL and orchestra doesn’t have that many options,” Montellano said.

 

“I wanted the students to prepare earlier, instead of waiting 2 weeks before the contest. The last 2 weeks should be used for details and making it more beautiful instead of fixing notes. Orchestra is not like band. They have many competitions to attend before UIL and orchestra doesn’t have that many options”.”

— Mrs. Montellano

This mock competition also gave the symphony orchestra the chance to get feedback on what they need to improve on to make their performance UIL-ready. They judges that were able to contribute to the mock competition on Jan. 31 were Alfonso and Mary Mendez, retired orchestra directors, Margarita Mendez, orchestra director at Franklin High school, and Nancy Maury.

They helped the symphony orchestra by giving constructive criticism and techniques to use to have an overall better sound. The Symphony Orchestra received twos in both sight-reading and their performance.

“We’re on the right path but we have plenty more to fix. Being on stage I can hear more clearly that we have a lot of work to do. They are significantly better than last year. It was cool to be able and get that information from the judges.”

Band students were grateful for being able to receive their music early because they were given more time to practice and hand a better chance to organize and go to rehearsals, which was not an option for them last year.

The mock competition was beneficial for the students and Montellano.

Although they know there are many areas that they need to improve on still they are in a great position for still having a month left before real competition in March.

“She’s mean but in a good way because her strictness is shown through her passion and you can really see it,” junior band member James Marquez said. “It is crucial to get an early start. There’s no such thing as being overly prepared in music because you have to be as precise and as perfect as you can and you can’t take any risk.”