Strings Orchestra sets sights on state competition

The Upper School Strings Orchestra is hitting all the right notes ahead of the 2024 State Large Ensemble Festival.

The group advanced to the state festival following an outstanding performance at the Montgomery County competition last month. The boys played three prepared pieces and secured a Superior rating (1) on each of them from all three Maryland Music Educators Association judges.  

“It’s gratifying,” said principal second violinist James ’24. “I think it’s pretty awesome to see us do so well, especially when it is my last year.” 

2024 Strings Ensemble rehearses

They also wowed the judges during the sight-reading portion of the competition, earning another Superior rating. The judges assess tone quality, technique, intonation, interpretation, musical effect, and blend and balance when delivering their ratings. 

“I’m so excited for them. I’m excited to lead them in states, and they’re ready,” said Director of Strings Stephen Czarkowski. “They have come so far.” 

“We’re all very proud of ourselves and proud of Mr. Czar. We’ve worked very hard all year,” said Fred ‘25, who plays the standup base. “Mr. Czarkowski has done such a good job of leading us, and we’re just continuing to work hard every day as we get ready for the state festival.” 

2024 Strings Ensemble rehearses

The orchestra will perform “Arlington Sketches” by Elliot Del Borgo, “Agincourt” by Doug Spata, and “Battle” by Soon Hee Newbold during the state festival, which will take place May 1-3 at Morgan State University in Baltimore.

To prepare, Fred said that Czarkowski presents the class with even more challenging compositions, so that they are “truly ready for anything.” Along with their three prepared pieces, sight reading is also required at the state competition.  

"It’s really important to us that we represent Landon well,” added Fred. “Going to a college and performing in front of many different high schools is something we take pride in and we’re very excited for.”

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