Two students selected for regional honor orchestra

Dylan DelCol, Reporter

Two HCP Juniors, Victor Nguyen and Jackson Burnette, have been chosen for 6th violin chair and 1st bass chair from a regional pool of competitors for the annual North Central Honor Orchestra (NCHO).

They have been attending the honor orchestra for five years running, increasing in placement each year.

Nguyen jumped to 6th chair 1st section, up from 10th chair 2nd section last year.

His instrument section, the violins, only take 44 finalists out of over a hundred students, so his competition is among the hardest.

“Victor earning 6th chair is a really big deal,” said orchestra director Kelli Taylor.

This year, Burnette reached the highest position in the bass section, seven spots ahead of where he started back in 7th grade. He improved two spots from 3rd chair last year.

“To get first chair means you’re, like, the best in the region,” Taylor said.

“They’re auditioning against really great players,” Taylor said. She described how contestants from all school orchestras makes the competition tough for smaller schools like Harding. “More of those kids get to take private lessons, and you’re auditioning with hundreds of kids,” she said.

Because the Honor Orchestra encompasses all OSSAA affiliated schools, students compete from all public and private schools that have an orchestra. According to Taylor, money matters in orchestra performance because only those top performers who spend the time and money on private lessons get the highest spots.

Earning spots in the NCHO means that Nguyen and Burnette get to perform with a group drawn from the best players from all the regional orchestras with pieces tougher than they would get to do as part of their school orchestra.

It creates a more intensive environment, according to Taylor, because the players are given only two days to practice as a group before performing their pieces – a stark contrast to the weeks of practice that the students are accustomed to in school orchestras.

“The goal is to produce the very best concert that you can with music more difficult than you get to in your regular orchestra” Taylor said. “It’s not for the faint of heart.”

When she saw that the Honor Orchestra would be playing a piece by Anton Webern, she “came to a screeching halt” thinking “wait… they’re playing Webern!?” she said.

NCHO will be performing under the direction of OSU orchestra director Thomas Dickey, at their concert on November 17th.