The Clarence Middle School Orchestra Program is comprised of weekly small group lessons and daily orchestra rehearsals which take place during the school day.
Small group lessons take place once per week on a rotating basis, so a student will not miss the same class period more than once over the course of several weeks.
Orchestras are grouped by grade level, and meet daily during the school day. Each orchestra gives at least four public performances each year.
The Middle School Orchestra also performs in the community. In December, the 7th grade Orchestra will perform at the Clarence Senior Center and the 8th grade Orchestra performs at Roswell Park with the Chorus.
In the Spring, the Orchestras perform for the Elementary grade levels during their morning program and encourage all students to join the instrumental program starting in 4th grade.
New Extracurricular Ensemble in 2016-17
A Sinfonietta Orchestra will be added this year and is open by audition to string players in grade 6-8, and members of the Band in grades 6-8. A Sinfonietta Orchestra is a musical group that is larger than a chamber ensemble, but smaller than a full-size Symphony Orchestra. Rehearsals will be Friday mornings before school and there will be several evening performances for families and friends. We will study music of different time periods and various styles. This is a great opportunity to join with your friends from both ensembles and with different grade levels!
At the Middle School level, 6th, 7th and 8th graders are all encouraged to play a solo for the ECMEA (Erie County Music Educators Association) festival in January. Teachers help the student pick an appropriate level solo from the NYSSMA Manual, they prepare one octave scales, and sight-reading. Each student is given a 10-minute time slot to perform for a string judge. Students receive valuable feedback and a grade. Students with the highest scores are then selected to participate in the ECMEA Orchestra festival in March.
There are two levels for the Orchestras: grades 4-6 participate in the ECMEA Elementary Orchestra, and grade 7-9 participate in the ECMEA Jr. High North Orchestra. It is an honor to be selected in the Orchestra and an experience that will be not forgotten!
An additional performance opportunity is the NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association) Solo audition that occurs in May or June. Teachers choose a Level 1-6 solo from the NYSSMA Manual. The scale requirements are more rigorous. For example, Level 5 and 6 must perform all scales in two octaves. The audition also includes a sight-reading component. Unlike the ECMEA festivals, there is a fee to participate in the solo audition ($14-$21), and the corresponding NYSSMA Area All-State Orchestra Festival that happens the first weekend in November.