All 5 RCMS orchestra groups achieve “Superior” ratings at music assessment


Ryan Kim

Mrs. Devyn Grimes, the orchestra teacher of RCMS, works with the ensemble orchestra group on their spring concert song, April 18, inside the orchestra room.

At their music assessment in March at Marshall High School, all of the RCMS orchestra groups got all superior ratings on their music assessment.

On March 11, all five RCMS orchestra levels–Ensemble, Concert, Philharmonic, Chamber, and Symphonic–attended the music assessment at Marshall high school where they played their selected pieces in front of a panel of judges and received the highest rating possible.

“The music assessment is like a music SOL,” RCMS orchestra teacher, Mrs. Devyn Grimes, said. “It is a chance for orchestra groups to perform and receive a rating in front of judges throughout the state.”

Orchestras are to perform on a stage in front of judges where the orchestra plays their songs and receive a rating for their performance. There is another part of the performance called “sight-reading” where the orchestra is placed in a room with their conductor to play a completely new piece of music in correspondence to the orchestra’s level and play it in front of a judge to receive a rating as well. 

“Overall, I was pretty calm when stepping into the building,” said Bridget Xiao, a violinist in the RCMS’ Chamber orchestra. I felt pretty prepared since we had a lot of time to prepare and also had some practice at the pre-assessment.”

All the orchestra groups and Mrs. Grimes had been practicing for a few months before and had even gotten some more practice at the pre-assessment about a month prior.

“I had high expectations for all of the orchestras because I know what they can achieve,” said Mrs. Grimes.  “I had no doubt that they would do well in the assessment.”

On March 10, the first orchestra groups were sent to Marshall high school to perform for the judges. The groups were given a “good luck” by their peers and then they were off.

“It was very nerve-racking. The stage was a huge area and my palms were sweaty. The lights were so bright and I was sort of freaking out,” said Alex Peaks, a cellist in RCMS concert orchestra. “However, I felt prepared. I have been practicing for a while and rehearsing, but I was still a bit nervous, but also felt ready.”

After the performance, the orchestra groups did their sight-reading and after that, everything was over. The orchestra groups were excused, and everyone went back home.

“At that point, I realized that we did everything we went there to do,” said Zoeb Izzi, a viola player in the RCMS symphonic orchestra. “Although there were one or two mistakes that we made, we all thought we played our pieces well.