• Big Day Preparation:
    Instrument and bow in hand, back rigid as sharp as a straight edge. But strategically placed at the tip of the chair, palms drip as the instrument is brought to playing position. Then, the conductors lifts their arms.
    “Large group performance evaluation is not very enjoyable, I feel pressure from the teachers, my peers and the judges to play well,” sophomore symphonic violinist Ragaen Few said. “I get sweaty and my hands shake when I’m playing. The lights are in my eyes and everyone’s eyes are on us, so we have to do good.“
    (photo by Logann Houston)

  • About the Competition:
    The McEachern orchestra is preparing, for the biggest concert they’ve had all year, the Large Group Performance Evaluation (LGPE) on Mar. 12. As the orchestra competes with other high schools across the district, they will be given evaluations on their playing skills and stage performance.
    Cobb County school district has more than 40,000 students enrolled in music elective programs. It is required that all high school orchestra, chorus, and band students participate in the state LGPE. Middle and elementary schools musical programs are not required, but encouraged to come. (photo by Logann Houston)

  • Levels of Orchestra: The orchestra competes in three different divisions: Philharmonic, Symphonic, and Chamber.
    In order to move up to new levels, students have to take a playing test and show their improvement to their instructor. The test include sight reading and playing complex notes. Philharmonic is designed for students with little musical experience,mostly freshman’s are in this class. Symphonic is the group of students that have experienced a couple of years in the orchestra. Chamber is the most advanced group with some students having potential to become professionals. (photo by Jedidah Taylor)

  • Something New:
    On Tuesday, February 29 the Chamber orchestra will perform at Lassiter High School for an assessment. Then Chamber orchestra will travel to American String Teacher Association (ASTA) Conference in Tampa,Fla on March 2nd. “We’re leaving wednesday night and then we perform 10:30am on Friday,” senior orchestra player Jayla Blackemore said. There will be a banquet with group returning on Saturday night. To prepare for a larger LGPE the Chamber is not only preparing with Floyd, but with professors at Kennesaw State University and conductors from Clayton. (photo by Logann Houston)

  • Dress to Impress:
    LGPE requires competitors to perform in strict attire, so they will look presentable and uniformed on stage. Girls are required to wear a long black dress with black shoes of their choice, and boys have to dress in tuxedos with formal shoes. No excessive jewelry is allowed.This dress code is to promote professionalism and bring focus on music being played.
    “The uniform brings elegance, class, and unity,”sophomore symphonic violinist Ragaen Few said. (photo by Logann Houston)

  • Where its Taking Place:
    Every year LGPE is held in a school auditorium in Cobb County. Last year McEachern hosted LGPE and earned exceeding scores from all the levels of orchestra. This year McEachern’s Philharmonic and Symphonic orchestra will participate in LGPE at Lassiter High school, which is accredited as the nicest auditorium in the county.
    “Their auditorium will make the orchestra sound like a professional symphony because the auditorium is wide and circular shape, so the sound travels all the way to the very back of the auditorium,” conductor Jennifer Floyd said. (photo by Jedidah Taylor)

  • Expectations for the Journey:
    Scoring will be done by judges from Georgia Music Educators Association. Orchestra’s will receive a one to three, one being the highest score, in prepared excerpts and sight reading categories, then each score is tallied and totaled together.
    “I expect for my orchestra students to represent me and our school flawlessly resulting in superb scoring from the judges.I also want my students to learn from the other orchestra groups around the county,” Jennifer Floyd said. (photo by Logann Houston)

by Logann Houston, Staff Writer

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