Robinson Orchestra Takes Home MPA Trophy

RHS Orchestra returned to school with a Superior ensemble performance.

Pim Kruthun, Multimedia Editor

Over the past few weeks, Robinson Orchestra has been preparing for their annual Music Performance Assessment (MPA). MPA is a district-wide contest where a panel of professional judges evaluates orchestras from high schools all over the county. Judging is ranked from “superior” as the highest score, then “excellent,” “good,” “fair” and the lowest score, “poor.” Recently, Solo MPA’s took place, where professional judges scored individual performances. Robinson had six entries into the Solo MPA and five out of six Robinson students received a score of “superior.”

Madeline Baulch and Isabella Haman pose before entering Armwood high school for MPA. Photo by Pim Kruthun
MPA judge calculating performance scores. Photo by Pim Kruthun

After weeks of preparation, Robinson orchestra made their way to Armwood high school, where the official MPAs would be taking place. A day prior, a Pre-MPA concert was performed at Robinson. Pre-MPAs would allow the orchestra to have one final revision before being critiqued in front of professionals in the music world at the official MPAs.

Allie Howard, the new orchestra teacher reminded her students, “everyone has to be focused and actually execute all the things that we worked on during rehearsal.”

In front of the MPA judges, the orchestra played three songs: “Spirit of the American West,” “Motus A4,”and “The Code.”  After the performance, they would be placed under a second round of evaluation, playing a randomly chosen music sheet by the judges.

“I’m not too certain how we’ll do, we’ve practiced a lot so I hope we can get a good score” says violinist Dareen Nguyen hours before the Orchestra was set to perform in front of judges.

Despite the uncertainty among the Orchestra students, they performed exceedingly well as the judges appointed them all superior scores for their performance in both competition rounds.

Drew Zacharias, a cello player, told RHSToday after the performance, “I think the entire orchestra just did a phenomenal job.”

The scoring sheet from the judges was passed around the bus, as students read the critiquing notes from the judges, despite having performed well, the group of orchestra students still wanted to improve.

Madeline Baulch (a two-time superior soloist) spoke: “as musicians, we can always strive to better no matter how good we already are.” She added a personal reflection, “I think I lost sight of all the hard work I’ve put into practicing the viola all these years, and to hear from a credited musician and instructor (reminds) me to appreciate the progress I’ve made throughout the years.”

On the bus ride back home, Howard praised her students and told RHSToday, “It’s always nice to come home with a trophy.”

Now, the Orchestra students who had been under pressure all week, balancing practices with other class assignments, can rest knowing they are an all superior orchestra.

Want to hear the superior performance? Scan here.