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Photo by Supplied by John Dodd

The LPHS Philharmonic Orchestra

Rachael Molteno —

The orchestra started the year by welcoming several new musicians into the ensemble. 

Not only did we receive several new year nine students, but also a group of talented internationals. We spent the first and second term preparing pieces for the upcoming orchestra tour. At the end of term two the orchestra did a small tour of Dunedin, visiting several schools, a rest home and the art gallery, (as well as the local supermarket in an impromptu flash-mob). The orchestra performed four pieces on the tour, the first being a 'Peer Gynt' suite, containing 'Morning' and 'In the Hall of the Mountain King', which are two very well-known pieces composed by Grieg for the play Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen, a Norwegian dramatist. The second piece we performed was 'I Dreamed a Dream' from Les Miserables, arranged by ex-student turned teacher trainee, Mr Callister, who also conducted the piece. The next piece we performed was 'Romeo and Juliet' by Tchaikovsky. This piece tells the famous story of Romeo and Juliet through the use of three musical themes, one representing the feuding, one representing love and one representing Friar Lawrence (a character in the play). These themes cleverly intertwine with one another throughout the piece to show how the events in the play coincide. The final piece we performed was Beethoven's Egmont overture, which dramatises the life of the Count of Egmont. It was originally composed as music for the play Egmont, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, but later became the unofficial anthem for the Hungarian revolution. The orchestra tour was largely a success that most of the members thoroughly enjoyed. The orchestra played better than expected and we had plenty of great feedback from the performances.

After the tour there was no rest for the wicked. It was straight on to preparing for the upcoming Otago Secondary Schools Music Festival, an event held in the Dunedin Town Hall, where all schools' choirs, orchestras and jazz bands unite for a day and perform a stunning concert in the evening. In this event the combined orchestra(s) performed five pieces. Bizet's 'Farandole' and Mahler's symphony number one (3rd movement) were performed by the orchestra. Then the orchestra was split into the concert band (wind and percussion) and the string band which performed Adele's 'Skyfall' and a 'High School Musical' medley respectively. The finale piece, 'Space oddity' by David Bowie was performed by the combined choir and orchestra.

As of this term, the LPHSPO is preparing for the end of year prizegiving and working on a piece composed by our talented orchestra member Cameron Monteath. So far it has been a thoroughly enjoyable year for the orchestra and hopefully the year will continue that way until a wonderful performance at prizegiving.  (see video below for a short snippet).