Young Musicians Practice for Debut Honor Ensembles

Posted: Monday, March 23rd 2020

In spring 2020, San Diego Unified’s Debut Honor Band and Orchestra was comprised of over 130 fourth, fifth, and sixth graders. The students, who auditioned in December to obtain a place in one of the ensembles, practiced weekly at Wilson Middle School throughout February and into March.

In district honor ensembles, students have the opportunity to work with a new high-quality conductor each year. This year the honor band was conducted by John O’Donnell, award-winning music educator at Pacific Beach Middle School, and the orchestra was conducted by Dr. Philip Tyler, violin professor and orchestra conductor at Point Loma Nazarene University.

During their time together, the students rehearsed and practiced a wide range of music, including “Across the Serengeti” by Jack Wilds, “Celestial Fanfare” by Robert W. Smith, “Dr. Suzuki Misbehaves” by Dr. Philip Tyler, and “Dragonhunter” and “Bach Country Fiddles” by Richard Meyer. The ensembles were managed by SDUSD music educators Julie Yaeger (band) and Julie Szweda (orchestra) and assisted by David Rouillard and Jonah Perine. Thank you also to Paula Richardson, music teacher at Wilson Middle School, who hosted the rehearsals.

While the concert was cancelled to ensure the health and safety of our students, the young musicians made new musical friends and expanded their musical horizons. We hope to see these aspiring musicians in our honor ensembles next year!

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