Bell Middle School orchestra students agree that Barbara Casanova is a strict teacher, but along with that, she inspires them to be the best players they can be.
“She focuses on every little thing,” said seventh-grader Tucker Tingley, 13, who …
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“She focuses on every little thing,” said seventh-grader Tucker Tingley, 13, who plays cello in the orchestra. “But that’s probably why we’re good.”
On May 13, 50 students from the Bell Middle School orchestra competed in the Music in the Parks event, which took place at Ralston Valley High School in Arvada. The awards ceremony took place on May 14 at Elitch Gardens.
Bell orchestra won first place for middle school out of five schools from across the state in the category. Plus, the Bell orchestra won an award for receiving a superior ranking at the competition — which is the highest ranking the orchestra could have earned. Out of 100 points, the orchestra earned 98.3. Scoring was based on earning points in five different categories, including musicality and technique.
The orchestra performed two pieces at the competition — “Tryptich for Strings,” by Elliot Del Borgo and “Dramatic Essay,” by Mark Williams.
And they practiced a lot, violinist Ben Idler, 14, said.
“We played the pieces every day in class for months,” he said.
Also at the Music in Parks from Bell was about 60 students in band, directed by Cid Breeser, and about 20 students from the a capella group, directed by Lyat Rizo. Although neither scored as highly as the orchestra, students were still thrilled to get to participate, Breeser said.
“It’s a valuable experience,” he said. They still performed well, and they got the opportunity to be critiqued and receive feedback from the professional judges, Breeser added.
There are a lot of talented players in the orchestra, said bassist Joey Aigner, 13, so he figured they would do well. But they were not expecting the first-place win, he added.
“It was so fun,” said Rebecca Mac Kay, 14, who plays viola in the orchestra. “We celebrated the night away.”
Even if they hadn’t of won, said violinist Sonia Enger, 13, each of the orchestra members knew they had performed their best.
“I’m proud to get the unique experience to be with a great orchestra,” she said.
Everybody enjoys being a part of the orchestra, said Gage Gunn, 13, who plays the violin. For many, the teamwork is the best part.
“We all play our different parts,” said bassist Tristin MacLeod, 13, “but it adds up to something amazing.”
Students also give a lot of credit to Casanova.
“Casanova is a good conductor,” violinist Elin Phillips, 12, said. “She makes sure we work our hardest, but that we have fun, too.”
The orchestra had a concert on May 12 — the evening before the Music in the Parks, and they performed well, Casanova said.
“But on Friday night, they were just in the zone,” she said. “I think it made them feel really special.”
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