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Turlock High students selected for honor orchestra
Turlock High students, Jose Ortiz, Maggie Ruiz, Gabi David, Kate Matson, Audrey Mondragon and Trevor Purdy, play their instruments in Mrs. Harrison’s orchestra class Tuesday morning. They were selected from a slew of high school musicians all over California to be a part of the top 180 musicians in the state. - photo by MAEGAN MARTENS / The Journal
Turlock High orchestra students were searching for a challenge outside of the classroom and they found one in the California Orchestra Directors Association and their annual Honor Orchestra.
Six students from Donna Harrison’s orchestra class were selected to play with the top 180 high school musicians in California.
The Turlock High students selected for the Honor Orchestra are: Senior bass player Trevor Purdy, senior viola player Maggie Ruiz, junior violin player Kate Matson, senior violin player Gabi David, junior viola player Audrey Mondragon and senior viola player Jose Ortiz.
“It is quite an honor to be selected,” Harrison said. “They play along the side of other musicians, perform major literature and work with big time conductors.”
The students started off with recording themselves playing individually then they sent their tapes to CODA in hopes of being selected for the Honor Orchestra, Purdy said.
“It is a blind audition,” Harrison said. “They don’t see who is playing. They only hear the music that is being played.”
When sending in an audition tape, each student must audition for either the string orchestra or the symphony orchestra, Purdy said. The string orchestra consists of the violin, viola, violoncello and the double bass. The symphony orchestra consists of the woodwinds, brass, percussion and strings. Some instruments used in the symphony orchestra are the violin, trumpet, timpani, and flutes.
Half of the students were selected for the symphony orchestra and the other half were selected for the string orchestra.
Once the six students were selected, they each received their pieces of music to practice individually. They are expected to be prepared by the time the one and a half day rehearsal comes up in December, Purdy said.
The students selected for the symphony orchestra received two pieces of music to perfect and the students selected for the strings orchestra are required to perfect four pieces of music.
“The music is awesome this year,” Ruiz said.
They have about a day and a half to two-days to rehearse together with the other 174 musicians for about eight to 10 hours a day before the concert, Purdy said.
“It is a pretty intense rehearsal,” Harrison said. “To get a concert together in one and a half days is amazing.”
“I am excited to see how it will all come together after rehearsing for a day and a half then having the concert,” she said.
What most people don’t know is that once the students perfect their own sheet of music, everything changes when the entire orchestra comes together to play.
“You practice alone then you come together and you have to adjust the way you play and work together,” Purdy said.
It is about learning to work together, Ruiz said.
Being able to play in the orchestra with other students from all over California is a new challenge and opportunity for the students, Harrison said.
It is a step-up from playing in the classroom. The next step after CODA’s Honor Orchestra would be the All-State Orchestra, Matson said.
Purdy and Matson both plan to continue to keep music in their life after high school. Matson plans on becoming a conductor for the San Francisco Symphony and Purdy plans on playing music in his free time.
“I want to play music for the rest of my life,” Purdy said. “I don’t want to give it up.”  
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.