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Oakton Orchestras Experience Impressive Year

Oakton string players demonstrate talent at local, state and national levels

After sending a r in October 2011, Oakton High School’s orchestra program continued its streak of success with additional notable achievements to top off its year.

"I continue to be amazed at the talent exhibited by the string players at Oakton," director Debra Myers said. "They have made so much progress and it is an absolute pleasure to teach them."

For the past four years, Oakton High has had five orchestra members pass a competitive audition process and qualify for All-State orchestra. Not to break the trend, this year’s orchestra sent four violinists and one violist.

Senior Stacy Ham was selected as first chair of the first violin section out of about 120 violinists from Virginia, earning the prestigious position of concert master. This year is her fourth time qualifying for All-State orchestra.

"There's always a lot of pressure to lead a section, so it was stressful trying to learn the music in a short period of time," Ham said.

The All-State orchestra rehearsed rigorously from April 12 to 14 for almost 25 hours total in preparation for its concert on April 14 at James River High School in Midlothian.

"It was absolutely exhausting, but I had so much fun rooming with my fellow Oakton orchestra friends and playing and listening to incredible music for those three days," Ham said.

In early March, Oakton High orchestra competed in the district orchestral festival. All three levels of their program (chamber, symphonic and concert) garnered the highest honor: a “Superior” rating.   

A month later from April 18 to 22, the chamber orchestra and the combined symphonic and concert orchestra traveled to Disney World in Orlando, Fla., to perform and visit the parks.

Both the chamber and symphonic/concert orchestras again received “Superior” ratings. The chamber orchestra was also honored with the Best in Class trophy as well as the Gold Award for its high performance score.  

"Mikey Lankenau was one of the representatives to receive the Gold Award on behalf of the orchestra and when OHS was called, and he Tebowed in front of the thousands of people,” Ham said. “The entire trip was so memorable.”

This impressive line of achievements for the Oakton High orchestra program is not out of the ordinary for the school. In addition to the five students sent to All-State each year, it consistently has 10 to 12 students make Senior Regional Orchestra as well as "Superior" ratings at competitions.

With this tradition of talented orchestras, Myers expects incoming groups of musicians will continue to add accolades to the school.

"I will let the orchestra's reputation for excellence guide the future of the orchestra program at Oakton," Myers said.

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