IHSA-Not Only Does It Cover Sports But Orchestra Too
By Klaudia Jablonska
Every year Northside’s Chamber Orchestra members compete in the annual IHSA solo and ensemble competition. This year the orchestra members traveled to Reavis High School on March 2 in order to compete in the competition. Although Northside’s orchestra competes every year in this competition, the location of the event changes each year. This competition is mandatory to compete in for chamber members, although some members of other orchestra classes are sometimes asked by Mr. Leo Park, music department chair, to come and compete. The competition includes schools competing in individual and small groups, from which they are then judged by how well they executed their piece.
Every member of Northside’s Chamber Orchestra has to perform a solo along with several small ensemble pieces, in addition to this there is a violin choir, a viola trio, and a cello trio that competes. For individual pieces, students are judged on the precision of the piece in addition to two or three scales chosen by the judges. Both the solos and ensembles are judged out of 40 points. The division rating is then determined by the overall score of the member’s solo pieces and ensemble pieces. Scores between 36-40 qualify someone to Division I Superior, 28-35 is Division II Excellent, 20-27 is Division III Good, and so on, going down in ranking with fewer points. Most of students and groups received Division I or II rankings, which is how Northside ended up winning first in Class A Orchestra with 189 points.
Although this competition is a mandatory event for members of the Chamber Orchestra class, that is not to say that the students do not have fun at this competition. With the vast amount of schools at the competition, students spend a whole day at the competition. Typically, schools arrive around 8 am and leave around 5 pm. All the schools typically gather around either the lunchroom or gym, and that is usually a home base area. Northsiders usually set up a little area for all the Northside students where students can tune up before they perform, play games, do homework or go listen to other members when they are performing. One member, Grace Nelson, Adv. 908, said “The competition is a fun experience for the group and we get to bond over it. Throughout the day everyone is really supportive and the upperclassmen help get new players used to the competition.”
According to the members of the Chamber Orchestra class, Mr. Park really enjoys taking part in this competition because in class students only play together, so it is important to also be prepared to play in small ensembles and solo work. In the classroom students usually play as a class and cannot practice solo work often, so this competition allows them to practice and get better equipped at such performances during the concert season.
Northside’s orchestra classes do not only take part in the IHSA Orchestra Competition every year but they also compete at a CPS Orchestra contest. The following month after the IHSA competition, on April 5, members of Intermediate, Concert, and Chamber Orchestra went to Lane Tech for a city wide contest. This competition was with the entire orchestra playing together. The orchestra played three pieces which were judged by three judges. Northside received two scores of Superior with Distinction and one score of Superior.