The Student News Site of Bridgewater-Raritan High School

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The Student News Site of Bridgewater-Raritan High School

The Prowler

The Student News Site of Bridgewater-Raritan High School

The Prowler

High school students inspire eighth graders to join orchestra

High school and middle school students perform together. (Hsiao-Yu Lin Griggs)

Bridgewater-Raritan High School orchestra students welcomed eighth grade students from the Bridgewater-Raritan Middle School  with a performance and combined rehearsal on January 31.

The event was organized by Mrs. (Sherry) Hsiao-Yu Lin Griggs and Mrs. Catherine Butler, the high school’s and the middle school’s respective orchestra directors.

For the middle school students, this event allowed them to get a feel for the highest-level orchestras in our district and learn how the programs differ from the lower grades.

Starting at approximately 8 a.m., high school students helped by setting up chairs and music stands on the stage in the auditorium. This allowed the middle school orchestra, BR Concert Orchestra and BR Symphony Orchestras to perform individually and then join together for a full practice session. 

The program began with the eighth grade orchestra performing “The Code,” a piece composed by Alan Lee Silva. Performing this song was familiar to the students as they had already played the piece for their winter concert that occurred earlier in January. Once the song concluded, the students were met with support and rounds of applause by the high school students.

Next, the BR Concert Orchestra students performed “Celtic Cannon” by Johann Pachelbel. It included a melody known to many and incorporated an Irish influence on the style of the music. The latter part of the song is titled “Tam Lyn,” building off a similar theme of traditional Celtic music. 

Afterwards, the BR Symphony Orchestra performed the fourth movement, “Finale” of Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings. The ensemble had been rehearsing the third movement, “Élégie,” during the winter and performed it at their December concert.

Tchaikovsky intended to reflect a lively tone and the musicians conveyed that with their playing. Both the Concert Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra performances involved sophomore, junior and senior students, giving the eighth graders a glimpse into what orchestra looks like in the later years of high school.

Once all the performances had concluded, the orchestra directors guided all the students, totaling almost 150 students, to the stage and combining all the musicians together into one ensemble. They then collectively performed a run-through of “The Code,” a piece that all the musicians could play together.

The students were then provided the opportunity to ask questions to the officers of each ensemble. Many of the questions focused around the differences between orchestra in middle school versus orchestra in high school, along with some specific questions about high school in general.

BRHS orchestra students give middle schoolers the opportunity to ask questions to the officers of each ensemble during the 8th Grade Orchestra Day. (Hsiao-Yu Lin Griggs)

Jonathan Vijay, sophomore violinist in the BR Concert Orchestra, shared his thoughts on the event as a whole.

“It was a great experience to talk with the 8th graders and getting to perform with them was something I never thought I would do,” Vijay said.

To end the event, students were given a pizza lunch on the behalf of the Orchestra Parents’ Association, the organization that helps fund countless orchestra events. High school students were then encouraged to socialize with the middle school students and answer any direct questions or concerns they had. 

Vijay continued by emphasizing the importance of enjoying music to the middle school students.

“It is important to be in an environment where you feel comfortable and can do something you like, and Mrs. Griggs and the orchestra definitely embody that,” he said.

Later this year, the BRHS orchestra program will be involved in the CJMEA Orchestra Festival, the Fine Arts Festival and the spring concert. 

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About the Contributor
Paritosh Bhole
Paritosh Bhole, Associate Editor
Paritosh Bhole is a sophomore at BRHS, and it is his second year being a part of The Prowler. He has been a part of previous school newspapers; he has always enjoyed journalism and being in touch with the school community. To him, writing is one of the most impactful ways of expressing ideas and emotions--BR is full of countless journalism opportunities. Away from writing, Paritosh spends his time playing the cello, playing basketball, and reading leisurely.
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