Phoenix Orchestra’s Spring Concert Features Senior Spotlights

Following the four songs the orchestra played as a group, conductor Teresa Gordon acknowledged graduating seniors as well as members of the orchestra who won awards.


Adi Kidiyoor

Principal cello senior Sydney Pascual plays her solo piece: “Cello Suite No. 3 Sarabande” by Johann Sebastian Bach. “She has a lovely sound, a nice tone,” orchestra director Teresa Gordon said. “She always has, I remember when she was a freshman, taking notice of how beautiful her [playing was].”

Through every high school orchestra practice, assessment, and concert, most don’t think ahead to the annual spring concert. They focus on the next performance, where they’ll get the chance to go on stage and show the audience the pieces they’ve been working so hard on perfecting. However, as a result, one fact slips their minds:  the spring concert is the last concert of the year. Not only that, it’s time to say goodbye to the current seniors, as their time in the high school orchestra is officially over.

On May 17, the Phoenix Chamber Orchestra performed at their annual spring concert, the final concert for the group’s seniors. The night began with an introduction from conductor Teresa Gordon, after which the members all raised their bows to begin. 

The orchestra played a total of four pieces together: “Brandenburg Concerto No. 5” by Johann Sebastian Bach and arranged by Isaac, “Eat My (Rosin) Dust” by Brian Balmages, “Dragon Dances” by Soon Hee Newbold, and “Russian Sailor’s Dance” by Reinhold Gliere and arranged by Caponegro. Following the group pieces, principal cello senior Sydney Pascual had her chance to perform a solo.  She played “Cello Suite No. 3 Sarabande” by Johann Sebastian Bach. To end the concert, Gordon took the time to acknowledge the orchestra seniors and those who earned special recognitions.

Among the graduates were Sydney Pascual, James Lee, Malavika Saritha, and Mehma Kathuria. Although the year is coming to a close, they made sure to put all their effort into preparing as they did with other concerts. “It was stressful in the beginning, but that’s how it is with every concert,” Saritha said. “Once you start playing the music and everybody’s just playing together, you listen to the parts, you synchronize with everybody, it all flows. The stress just leaves; [all]  you need is you and the music at the end of the day.” Saritha had been playing violin since the sixth grade, and has made the decision to make this her last year playing as she heads off to college.

Although most of the juniors and underclassmen are returning to orchestra next year, some members received badges signifying their accomplishments for next year, such as getting into the senior regional orchestra, as junior Rohan Santosh did. “I received an award because I got into the senior regional honors orchestra this school year,” Santosh said. “You have to audition against kids from northern to central Virginia to get into the orchestra. It also qualifies you to compete for the state-level orchestra.”

Transitioning from this year to the next school year, the orchestra prepares to not only say goodbye to current seniors, but greet future freshmen as they join the group. “I’m looking forward to the new members of the orchestra next year,” Santosh said. “I’ve heard that we have a lot of incoming freshmen who play an instrument, and I’m pretty optimistic about the value they can bring to our orchestra.”