Upper School Orchestra spends afternoon with LA Philharmonic


Photo credit: Kate Burns

The Archer Orchestra poses together in Downtown LA during their visit to the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The group listened to and worked with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Smiling with anticipation, members of Archer’s orchestra program stood within the walls of the Walt Disney Concert Hall as they prepared to learn tips from experts in the orchestra field — none other than the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Upper school orchestra students, choir teacher Kate Burns, orchestra director Susan Smith and wind ensemble director Alyssa Gogesch spent Friday, Jan. 22 with the LA Phil and engaged in a one-on-one workshop to learn how to become a more cohesive ensemble.

They were able to watch the Philharmonic perform in front of a live audience and also had the opportunity to meet with the orchestra members to learn new techniques and skills.

“We worked on being better practicers for performing and working together on those techniques,” Hannah Park ’19 said.

The students were then given time to process the information they learned and to compare and contrast the differences between the Archer orchestra and the LA Phil.

“I think this was really inspiring for the orchestra — it made us want to play better and become more passionate about the music that we play,” Ciel Torres ’17 said.

Moving forward, the Archer orchestra hopes to put their newfound knowledge to the test.

“As a class, we have started writing more notes. We always have a pencil on our stand, and whenever our conductor [Smith] tells us to correct something, we write it down,” Park said.

The orchestra continues to practice Wednesday after school and Thursday X-Block as they prepare for their next performance, the annual Spring Concert in April.

“What I took away from our experience was that while practice can be laborious, tiring, repetitive and redundant, the end product is usually amazing, and you get to play some extraordinary pieces. It was an absolute privilege to go,” Torres said.