Orchestra Achieves Perfect Contest Scores


For the first time in nine years, the RHS Symphonic Orchestra received all superior ratings March 10 at the MCPS Orchestra Assessment Festival.

The festival was held over several days between 30 different orchestras, some from MCPS and others from private schools around the county. Schools performed three prepared pieces on stage in front of three judges and then read and performed a brand-new piece of music for the first time in front of a fourth judge. The ratings go from one to five, one representing a superior rating; RHS received all ones.

“The students in the Symphonic Orchestra take a lot of pride in putting a quality product out there for people to hear,” instrumental music director Phillip Barnes said.

The orchestra students received the music in December after their winter concert, and have been working on it ever since.

“We were all really nervous because we missed so many rehearsals because of snow days,” senior violinist Zora Williams said.

When the orchestra got on the bus after their performances, Barnes shared the good news. “We all screamed and clapped and hugged each other,” Williams said. “This hasn’t happened to Rockville since 2006.”

With the festival over, orchestra will now begin prepping for their spring concert, in good spirits after this achievement.

“We always give Mr. Barnes 110 percent of our focus in class. I felt very accomplished,” senior cellist Tim Slingluff said. “We killed it like we always do.”

The symphonic band also did well, receiving two superior scores and two excellent scores (second highest rating possible), at their festival on March 12. This was one of the best performances from the band in five years.