This year, the string orchestra consists of more than 20 members. It aims at providing training and performances so as to enhance the technique and musicianship of string players in our school. We have an energetic and youthful orchestra this year as most of the members are in F.1-F.3.
An audition was held in mid-September to arrange the seating plan of the orchestra. We probably have the fewest violinists this year when compared with the last five years. On the other hand, the cello and bass parts are quite strong and this is quite a strange phenomenon in the history of the string orchestra. Under the guidance of our new conductor, Mr. Woo Zun Hin, we practised every Monday after school to prepare for our performances.
The attendance of weekly practices was not quite satisfactory at the beginning of this academic year. Therefore, part rehearsals were held two times a week during lunchtime so that all members could keep up with the overall standard of the orchestra. The part rehearsals were regularized and scheduled this year so that all members knew when and where to have the part rehearsals. Besides preparing for the Speech Day, we also practised our set piece in the coming Hong Kong Schools Music Festival, which was the 'Overture for Strings' by Gordon Jacob.
We had the first performance in the annual Speech Day on 23rd November, 2001. We played the Divertimento No.2 in B flat major K.137 by W.A. Mozart and accompanied the School Hymn with the Wind Band. The performance was quite satisfactory.
After the Christmas examination, we started to practise our own choice, the 1st movement from Serenade for Strings by A. Dvorak. This piece was very romantic and lyrical, which demonstrated a big contrast to the energetic and powerful nature of the set piece. The set piece (Overture for Strings) required a high standard in rhythm, tuning as well as in dynamics and it was very difficult for a school string orchestra to master it within a few months.
Due to the fact that some players could not manage to play well in both pieces, part rehearsals were frequented since January. We held part rehearsals nearly everyday after school in February. However, some players still could not reach the standard, and therefore, we were forced to reduce the size of the orchestra just like what we did last year. We reduced the number of players to 21 in order to produce the best music on stage.
Finally, March arrived and the Annual Schools Music Festival commenced. We skipped a few lessons before the competition so that we could have more time to practise. We improved a lot meaning that our arduous part rehearsals and practices were not wasted.
As in the past years, we participated in the Intermediate Section for String Orchestra in the music festival. The competition was held on 12/3 at the Tsuen Wan Town Hall. With the addition of two F.5 players after their mock exam, 23 string orchestra members went to the venue for the competition in the evening. We were the second team to perform amongst the five teams. We played the set piece quite well despite its hardness. However, the adjudicators commented that we had some problems in tuning in the second piece. We probably could have done better if we had tuned our instruments before playing our own choice. We finally got 78 marks. Though we were disappointed by the result, we were still satisfied with our performance and our hard work which we did in the past few months. The Schools Music Festival is a place for us to learn from others, to gain experiences as well as to improve our technique. The process of learning and playing in the orchestra is much more important than the marks we get in the competition.
After a one-week rest, we started to prepare for the school Annual Concert, "Unsere Herzen". Our conductor Mr. Woo Zun Hin was not available that night, Mr. David Yiu conducted the string orchestra instead. Besides performing "Ases Tod" from Peer Gynt Suite No.1, op.46 by Edvard Grieg and the Sinfonia in G Major-Allegro by Christoph Gluck, we also accompanied Mr. Leung Chun Chim, our chairman and concertmaster five years ago, in the Violin Concerto in E major, op.8, No.1, "Spring"-Allergo by Antonio Vivaldi. The performance was quite satisfactory and we learnt a lot as it was the first time for the string orchestra to accompany a soloist in the last few years.
Last but not least, I would like to thank all the part leaders and members who were willing to sacrifice their precious time to join the part rehearsals and practices. I would also like to thank our conductor, Mr. Woo Zun Hin, who spent so much time training us. I would also like to thank Mr. David Yiu, who would conduct the string orchestra whenever Mr. Woo 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. I look forward to the prosperous future of the orchestra in the forthcoming years.
Yeung Wan Fei, Johnthan
Chairman and Concertmaster