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THE SHIELD > Symphony
  String Orchestra
By Woo Wan Shun, Vincent, Chairman and Concertmaster

The string orchestra was formed by a group of students who were interested in string instruments about 20 years ago. It aims at enhancing the musicianship of string instrument players in our school by providing rehearsals and performances.

The string orchestra experienced its worst result last year when we got the last place in the intermediate section for string orchestras in the Hong Kong Schools Music Festival. Therefore, we work very hard this year to lift the orchestra from the nadir. Everyone has an expectation on the orchestra. Can we live up to their expectation?

'Maybe', I would say at the beginning of this academic year when I was given unsatisfactory attendance and poor ensemble by my members. Therefore, starting from February, we frequent our rehearsals to 2-3 each week because I believe that unceasing practice is the key to improvement. Besides, part rehearsals were held almost everyday after school in February for almost each member.

Unlike the previous years, only 21 selected members took part in the Music Festival. We participated in the intermediate section for string orchestras. This year, the set piece of this class was 'Divertimento in F' by W.A. Mozart, which had been our own choice three years ago whereas our own choice was 'Romanze in C' by Jean Sibelius. Our own choice demonstrates a big contrast to the set piece.

Our attendance gradually improved in February after the reduction of members. We all know we have tried best before the competition and we cannot be better because we have neither enough cello nor good instruments compared to other participating schools.

However, what we have is a good conductor and our diligence.

Finally, the competition came. On 8th March, 2001, 21 string orchestra members went to the Tsuen Wan Town Hall for the tough competition. There were altogether 6 other teams in this class. We were the fifth team to perform. What we had practised for 5 months would soon be presented to the adjudicators. We had some stage fright when we played the set piece and we did not perform it satisfactorily. However, we performed brilliantly in our own choice and showed the dynamic contrast and the spirit of this piece very well. Therefore, we got 86 marks and we were ranked 3rd out of the 7 teams. It is surely a tremendous improvement of the orchestra as we got the last place last year. We only had 21 players whilst the other teams had nearly 40. We did not have good instruments. However, our hard work throughout the year was not wasted. We reaped what we had sown.

Besides taking part in the music festival, we also performed in the Speech Day in November and the annual concert of our school in April. We performed the "Air from Orchestral Suite No.3 in D Major, BWV 1068" composed by J.S. Bach and Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" in the music concert. Also, six of the members performed in the annual ball of the Past Students' Association whereas four of us performed in the wedding party of Mr. Joseph Leung, a former chairman of the Past Students' Association.

The end of the music festival and music concert does not put an end to this year's activities. Realizing that there may not be enough members in the coming years, an audition was held in early May to recruit new members and to rearrange the seating plan. Its aim is to train new members and let them experience the essence of orchestral ensemble. Several practices were held in May and in the summer holiday although there were no more performances this year. I sincerely hope that this can help raise the standard of the lower form members.

Finally, I would like to express my greatest gratitude to Mr. Wong Wai Ming, our respectable conductor who had spent so much time in our orchestral practices. Also, thanks must be given to Mr. Yiu Yun Kwan, David, who would conduct us whenever Mr. Wong was not available. His care and advice for the orchestra was indispensable to us. Moreover, I would like to thank Miss Hwong for her guidance and advice.

Last but not the least, I would like to thank all the part leaders and our members, especially Jonathan Yeung of 2Y who spent so much time on helping me in the part rehearsals. Without the effort of all of you, we could definitely not have such a big improvement this year. I look forward to the glorious future of the string orchestra in the coming years.

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