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MHS, MMS orchestras prep for contest

Kate Nadeau performs her violin solo on stage, March 11, at the MHS orchestra concert. Photo by Devon Meyers/22nd Century Media
Five-year-old Aidan Fu smiles after his performance on March 11 with the MHS and MMS orchestras. Photo by Devon Meyers/22nd Century Media
Orchestra Director Maia Zander introduces her students before the concert. Photo by Devon Meyers/22nd Century Media
Ashleigh Fryer, Senior Editor
2:21 pm PDT March 17, 2014

The Malibu High School and Malibu Middle School orchestras unveiled their competition-ready program to parents and guests on March 11 during a concert at MHS.

The performance was meant to showcase the work that the students will take on the road to perform at competitions in Santa Monica on Friday, March 21, and at Disneyland on April 25, according to orchestra director Maia Zander.

“We do these programs on the road and most parents don’t get the chance to hear them because they’re during the school day and these parents are at work,” Zander said. “It also gives the students another chance to perform and practice with an audience. Each time they get even better.”

Each orchestra performed three selections, with solo performances by sixth-grader Kate Nadeau on the violin, eighth-grader Sophia Helm on the cello and ninth-grader Isabella Thatcher also on the cello. 

“Isabella’s solo was an original composition, written for this concert,” Zander said. “All of the other solos were self-prepared selections. It was a way for the students to take a little more initiative and prepare something on their own.”

The concert also included a performance of Johann Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” from the orchestra’s advanced group, for which students had to audition for a seat and had to have learned all of their music for the show in advance in order to qualify.

Aidan Fu, a 5-year-old Malibu preschooler, also joined the students on stage. Fu, who Zander identifies as an “accomplished performer,” will also perform with the orchestras in their Disneyland competition. 

“All of them played an ambitious repertoire; there were lots of fast notes that were particularly difficult,” Zander said. “The parents were thrilled. Some of them are going to try to come with us on the road to see the kids perform.” 

Zander expressed pride in the students’ performance, considering their last concert, the Stairway of the Stars, was just last month. 

“This semester they were simultaneously preparing two concert programs in two months,” Zander said. “I’m blown away with how well they played and how they’ve worked.”