• Important Dates -->
  • 11/22-24: Thanksgiving Break
  • 12/5: School Store Holiday Shopping Night
  • 12/6: Orchestra Concert
  • 12/7: Band Concert
  • 12/8: Rock Ridge Hackathon
  • 12/8: Frost Fest
  • 12/11-12/15: Winter Spirit Week
  • 12/12: Guitar Concert
  • 12/14: Chorus Concert
  • 12/15: Winter Pep Rally
  • Dec. 20-Jan 1: Winter Break
The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


Phoenix Orchestra Makes Noise with Spooktacular Collaboration

The Phoenix Orchestra hosted a spooky-themed collaborative concert on Oct. 26, featuring guest appearances from United Sound, a program dedicated to teaching music to special education students.
Leif Labianca
Math teacher Amy Holliday plays the bass drum along with sophomore Ambs Salazar-Lopez. As the orchestra and United Sound students performed multiple songs, orchestra director Teresa Gordon conducted them.

On Oct. 26, the front of the stage in the auditorium was appropriately adorned in a collection of Halloween-themed decorations, including skeletons, pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns, and even a miniature version of the famous Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from the “Ghostbusters” films. The Phoenix Orchestra echoed the mood of the festive decor with the themes of  a variety of classical orchestral pieces, as well as some seasonally appropriate Halloween and fall-themed songs, as they performed their annual Spooktacular collaborative concert.

Throughout the concert, audience participation was a key feature. The orchestra played  “The Itsy-bitsy Spider,” featuring audience participation involving moving one’s hands and fingers in a variety of motions corresponding with the lyrics. They also played an orchestral version of  “Baby Shark,” featuring call-up performances from the audience where they acted out the dance associated with the song. Finally, they performed a simplified version of the famous 1812 overture, which included a live bass drum to represent cannon fire, which the audience was encouraged to support with a loud interjection of  “BOOM!” 

The Spooktacular Collaboration took place during the school day, which invited special education students to sing with the orchestra and interact with them. Junior Tiffani Nguyen, who has been playing violin since the sixth grade, was excited for the Spooktacular. “It’s supposed to be a fun way to interact with the special education students at Rock Ridge and to have a chance to hangout with them, and also incorporate them into the play, as well,” Nguyen said.

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Orchestra conductor Teresa Gordon addresses the audience just before the performance starts. She, along with the rest of the orchestra, planned for this performance the entirety of Quarter 1. (Leif Labianca)

Phoenix Orchestra conductor Teresa Gordon acknowledged that such a presentation of musical scores could not possibly come on a whim. A great deal of practice and preparation had to go into this event for everything to click. “It’s quarter-long planning,” Gordon said. “We learn a bunch of stuff in the beginning of the school year and [then] we have our annual thing that we do.”

The collaboration of the fine arts department with the special education students shows their dedication to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. The orchestra’s next concert will be in December.

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About the Contributors
Leif Labianca, Staff Writer
Leif Labianca is in his senior year of high school, and is a first year staff writer on The Blaze. Throughout Labiance’s life, music has been a part of it. His earliest memory with music is him listening to and understanding the lyrics, rhythm, melody, and meaning of each song. One lyrical artist that comes to Labiance’s mind first when thinking about music is the American rapper Robert Bryson Hall II, “Logic.” While a frequent consumer of music, Labiance isn’t a critic of it; he enjoys all types of music not just for its rhythm or lyrics, but the message that is underneath the melody as well. Labiance hopes to explore more music during his time in The Blaze.
Nadia Shirr, Staff Writer
Nadia Shirr is a junior and this is her second year on The Blaze. She joined so she could have a more fun, and chill class. When there's a new event to cover, she likes to write about it so she can give her perspective on the topic. Shirr has also been involved in crew for the last two years. Shirr would like to go out of state for college, but is still undecided as to what she’d like to study.
Rodrigue Gomado, Staff Writer
Rodrigue is a junior and happy to be rejoining The Blaze this year after hitting a pause during sophomore year. He describes himself as funny, smart and interesting, and his drive to pursue activities  ‘just because why not?’ has led him to join a multitude of Rock Ridge’s in-school and after school clubs. Depending on the athletic season, Rodrigue can be found in the school gym practicing cheer stunts with his teammates, or out on the Track field. He serves as the Junior Class Communications Officer and has fun planning SCA events such as Homecoming Hallway Decorating or preparing Friday morning school announcements.

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