The Outstanding IHS Chamber Orchestra

Shannon Macdonald, Journalist

IHS Chamber Orchestra revieves MICCA Perfect Score (Instagram: ipswichhs_music)

Ipswich High School is filled with countless talented students. Many students play sports, make beautiful art, play an instrument, and so much more. However, there are some that especially stand out. Music at Ipswich High School has held on strong for many years- many say that Ipswich is known for their music program. The Chamber Orchestra is one of the most outstanding ensembles that Ipswich has. 

The IHS Chamber Orchestra is a small, selective group that consists of string instruments. Members have to audition each year in order to get a seat, no matter if they were in Chamber Orchestra in the past year. 

The ensemble plays more challenging repertoire than the Concert Orchestra. From slow to fast pieces, romantic to rock, Aaron Copland to Soon Hee Newbold, Chamber Orchestra can play anything. They can play any music with musicality, proper technique, and accuracy. 

IHS Chamber Orchestra has been recognized many times. Last year, composer Soon Hee Newbold asked the Orchestra to record a reference recording for one of her pieces titled “Orion and The Scorpion.” Stella Schultz, A first violinist in Chamber Orchestra, told me about his experience: “It was a really cool experience to be able to see all of the professional recording equipment and all of the professional videoing equipment,” Stella said, “[i]t was also an honor to be able to record the piece for the composer and have her use our recording.” 

Chamber Orchestra also competes in competitions against other Orchestras in the state. They regularly participate in the MICCA competition, a competition held in April against many schools across Massachusetts. The IHS Chamber Orchestra got a perfect gold score at the last MICCA competition, as well as outstandingly high scores in previous years. This is because they perform with grace, excellent technique, and musicianship. 

The group is very selective. Each player has to audition with excerpts that will be part of the repertoire during the year, and they are not too easy. For underclassmen and freshmen that want to audition, it can be somewhat intimidating. Mrs. Scarano helps the Chamber Orchestra each rehearsal and has seen the stress that some students may go through, so she has some advice for those who may feel this way: “Underclassmen should remember that at some point, every Chamber musician was at exactly the same musical stage of learning.  You can do it!  Commit yourself to growth, seek out constructive feedback and keep practicing!” Musicians should remember that practicing will lead to success and they should trust the process of learning how to be an excellent musician. 

The Chamber has expectations this year. They plan on continuing their skillful playing and performance. The musicians know that they have a good chance at meeting their expectations due to their conductor, Mr. Coelho. Stella Schultz says, “I expect it to be fun; we always work super hard so I am sure that we will do great in any of the competitions we have like MICCA. Mr. Coelho is a fantastic conductor so I know that he will lead us in the right direction.” They hope to become even better through their time as Chamber musicians. 

Overall, the IHS Chamber Orchestra has been a shining star in the school’s music program. The amount of time and dedication that goes into the group is incredible. All students interested should audition for this ensemble, because the group will only be getting better and better in the future.