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JW Student Interviews: Band, Orchestra, & Choir Adjudication 2022 by Josie W. & Rafaella C.

Julius West’s band, orchestra, and choir ensembles recently attended their annual adjudication. During an adjudication, students’ musical performance is judged based on criteria such as intonation, dynamics, balance, and overall accuracy. They are also judged on their ability to sight-read, a process in which they must play through a piece of music without having practiced it at all beforehand.

Seventh and eighth grade choir attended their adjudication at Walt Whitman High School on March 25th, and both the seventh and eighth grade orchestras played at Gaithersburg High School on March 30th. Only eighth grade band performed at their adjudication at Winston Churchill High School on April 7th, along with a select few sections of the seventh grade band. This was due to the size of seventh grade band--52 students, making it Julius West’s largest instrumental music ensemble. To keep cautious amidst COVID-19, only percussion and low brass/woodwind players from the seventh grade ensemble were made to attend adjudication--sections where the eighth grade band has fewer musicians. This includes the trombone, euphonium, bass clarinet, tuba, french horn, and tenor saxophone, along with all of the percussion students, who each play different percussion instruments depending on the song. It has been confirmed that all seventh and eighth graders will be able to attend adjudication next year!

Megan T., a seventh-grade violinist, reports that orchestra received 1s everywhere--the highest score possible. She claims that she is “very happy with a 1, ‘cause we’re awesome!” Congratulations to orchestra for earning such an outstanding score.

Prior to the performance, Megan says she was very optimistic and hoped to do well, but still very nervous. She seems to be very relieved about the results and comments on how good she felt their tone was. One place where Megan thinks the ensemble could have stepped up their game was during their crescendos. A crescendo in music is where one gradually plays louder. Perhaps some of the performers were less attentive to that dynamic. Megan will continue to play the violin in our orchestra ensemble next year and expects it to be better next year because she will “know what to expect and won’t be as nervous.”

A seventh-grade trombonist who would like to remain anonymous reports the same score as orchestra--1s in every category. Congratulations to our band performers on their success as well!

Our trombonist interviewee says they were nervous, but they felt better once the ensemble warmed up. Sight-reading was especially nerve-wracking because of the limited amount of time they were given to study their music, but they got through it. Our anonymous interviewee shares that as a whole, despite some mistakes, they did well and are excited for what future adjudications will be like. They think that it was a “good starting experience” to kick off their musical career.

They say that they expected the ensemble would do averagely but were pleasantly surprised by the score they ended up receiving. Our interviewee says they “way underestimated” how the ensemble would do. They think that “everyone as a whole did really well!” When questioned about their individual performance and how their section performed, they say, “My section did make some mistakes that I [noticed], but we did fine. I made a few slightly embarrassing mistakes, but overall I think I did pretty good.”

Katy W., an eighth-grade choir performer, says that choir received a good score as well. Congratulations to choir on their score!

Katy claims she wanted the choir to do their best and try their hardest, but to “also have fun and [have] it be a fun experience for everyone.” She says she felt as though they ended up doing better than she’d expected--Katy tells The Roaring Gazette, “I, as well as many of my classmates, were very pleased with our scores.”

When asked about how she felt about the overall performance, she points out the ensemble’s skill in being able to perform so well together despite seventh and eighth grade not being able to practice together often. Katy says the combined ensemble’s performance was “very good for the amount of practice [they] had together. She comments on her section’s performance along with her own, “I think my section’s performance was great. We worked hard during class, and it showed at the adjudication. As an individual, I think I did pretty well. I remembered to focus on problem areas I had in the pieces and fixed them accordingly.”

Katy says that all in all, she enjoyed her JW choir experience, seeing as this is her last year at Julius West. She says she would be “happy to do it again in the future” and that it was “very fun to do this with friends and [her] fellow classmates and [their] hard work showed through [their] scores.”

It seems that all of Julius West’s adjudications went smoothly--and even better than some performers had anticipated. We certainly hope that next year our musicians will be just as successful!

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