Advanced Orchestra Sneaks in Festival Before School and Activity Closures


Lissette Gomez

Valley's Symphonic Orchestra at their festival on UNLV's campus on March 2nd.

Thor's Hammer Staff

Valley’s Symphonic Orchestra earned a II, or excellent rating, at the CCSD Advanced Orchestra Festival held at Artemus Ham Hall on the UNLV Campus on March 2.  Dahlia Horenziak is the Orchestra Director.

To practice for their festivals, the orchestras had a pre-festival concert on Thursday, February 20, for both Intermediate and Symphonic Orchestra.  Intermediate performed A Mozart Allegro (Mozart), Habenera (Bizet), and Prelude and Gavotte (Corelli). The Symphonic Orchestra performed Farandole (Bizet), Largo from “The New World” Symphony (Dvorak), and Engines of Resistance (Clark).

“Festival this year was fun!,” Future UNLV Rebel and Valley senior Diego Perez said.  “We got to do our thing, and it was nerve-wracking (like always) but fun!  My favorite part is watching the other orchestras perform. Before we go on stage, we usually watch two or three other orchestras perform, and it’s always interesting to me to see how other schools operate and what they decide to put together,” Perez added.

“I think I enjoyed festival being the thing that brings everyone together,” senior Tom Yang stated.  “I was able to work together with my friends and also see my old orchestral peers at separate high schools showing off what they’ve been working on.”

The COVID19 pandemic not only resulted in a cancellation of the intermediate festival, but it also resulted in online orchestra instruction.  They are missing out on the in-person instruction of a classroom.

Horenziak misses “Teaching. As a professional, I can teach students remotely but I can’t give them everything I want to give them. As artists, we rely on being able to work together to create the fabric of Art, and that magic will be missing until we are able to collaborate fully once more. 

The seniors will not have the opportunity to play together again.

“I’ll miss the experiences with the friends I’ve made in orchestra the most probably, second only to being able to show off my playing in front of people!” Yang said.

“I will miss the sense of family,”Perez, who hopes to play in UNLV’s Symphonic Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and Star of the Desert Marching Band, added.  “Ever since middle school, orchestra was always a second home to me. I’d hang out there sometimes after school and, on days where I wasn’t hungry, I’d hang out there during lunch. Ms. H is a wonderful teacher and a wonderful-er person. I was really lucky to have someone like her to encourage me and push me to be the best musician, and the best person, I could be.”

Horenziak thinks “all of my seniors are awesome. I have 18 AMAZING kids graduating, and each one is outstanding!”  She thinks about them often.

“I love to wonder what amazing things that they will go out and do,” Horenziak explained.  “Valley kids have gone on to be incredible parents, professionals, educators, volunteers, politicians, and strong human beings. They inspire me, give me hope for our future, and keep me from becoming old and jaded.”

She also hopes her underclassmen won’t fret.

“We are going through something none of us could have foreseen, and we are handling it with grace and humor. There is sadness and hurt, but there is laughter and magic, too. We are strong. We are resilient. We will grow and learn from this.”  Quoting C.S. Lewis, Horenziak ended, “Courage, dear heart.”

Lissette Gomez
Valley’s Symphonic Orchestra at their festival on UNLV’s campus on March 2nd.