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Guitar Orchestra – On with the Show

SMHS Guitar Orchestra will be preforming at Cal Poly’s guitar festival featuring Christopher Parkening.

Many great things are ahead for Santa Maria High’s guitar orchestra this year. They will be competing once again in Magic Mountain’s Music, in the Parks on May 11th. In 2016-2017 at this same competition the orchestra claimed the highest possible rating, Superior, from the judges under John Van Wie’s conduction. Other performances lined up include guitar festivals at Vanguard, Loyola Marymount, Cal Poly, Cal State Dominguez Hills and Riverside University.

Loyola Marymount and Dominguez Hill University are venues that they have played at previously. In these festivals, orchestra players will have the chance to attend masterclasses and workshops taught by internationally known musicians. Santa Maria’s orchestra had the opportunity to attend a masterclass taught by the extensively esteemed Pepe Romero at Vanguard’s last festival.

As a relatively new program with a majority of its members new to playing the instrument or with little past experience, Santa Maria High’s orchestra is incredibly fortunate to be invited to there events. Some of best programs with backgrounds at the conservatory level perform at the same festival, in the same line-up as Van Wie’s orchestra.

Both Vanguard and Loyola are prestigious universities with reputations of having great guitar programs run by well known names such as Martha Masters and Michael Nigro. Having the opportunity to visit these universities goes even beyond performing and masterclasses. Orchestra players gain an advantage of actually studying at these universities.

At this time a total of nine performances are on the calendar for guitar, however that does not mean that orchestra will be able to attend all these events. Money is the tune of this song. Vanguard’s trip last year alone cost five thousand dollars for the group. Depending on the funding, opportunities are limited. In previous years, trips planned have had to be cancelled due to lacking finances. While given some funding by the school, much of the money often comes from Guitar’s own raising. These fundraisers are an avenue for you to support the orchestra.

Guitar will be holding a Pancake Breakfast at Applebee’s on Saturday, October 1st. The funds from this event will directly aid the program so that they may be able to perform at the venues mentioned. Sometime in November, Van Wie expects to begin selling Carl’s Jr. coupon booklets. The Winter and Spring Concerts at Santa Maria High’s Ethel Pope that guitar puts on with choir also supports the group. Additional fundraisers are planned, and the Breeze will be sure to keep you posted. 

This Saturday our guitar orchestra will be playing at Cal Poly outside before the main performance. The festival is dedicated to Christopher Parkening who will play on Friday night beginning the Saturday and Sunday festival. While a smaller group than the previous year, this year’s orchestra is well motivated, Van Wie says.

With your support, we can count on the orchestra having another high achieving year.