Five GCAA students selected for St. Louis Metro Honors Orchestra
Five GCAA students selected for St. Louis Metro Honors Orchestra
Posted on 10/26/2014
GCAA logoGrand Center Arts Academy has a presence in the St. Louis Metro District 8 Honors Orchestra.
Five students were selected for the orchestra after auditions with peers from area schools.

GCAA is represented by juniors Maya Casaregola and Joerdan Carney, violin; sophomore Jaylah Davis, violin; and freshmen Nicholas Baggett, violin, and Madeline Kaempfe, double bass.

The honors orchestra performs on November 8 at 6:00 p.m. at Fort Zumwalt East High School.

“The significance of being a part of this orchestra says that Grand Center Arts Academy is home to five of St. Louis’ top high school string players. This signifies that our program is exposing students to needed audition skills and practice habits that prepare them for adjudicated events and professional audition settings,” said Damen Martin, orchestra director, GCAA.

The orchestra is open for auditions to students in grades 8-12. To be eligible, students must meet academic qualifications; get approval from their music director, and signatures from parents to commit to rehearsals. There is a $10 entry fee. Martin said the fees for this year were paid by the parent booster club, I.M.P.A.C.T (Instrumental Music Parents Actively Contributing Together) of the GCAA Instrumental Music department.

The expectations of the honors orchestra are high.

“Students cannot miss one minute of rehearsal. If they are unable to live up to this agreement, they are not eligible to participate. Students are also expected to learn their parts before coming to rehearsals. Focuses in rehearsals are spent on the shaping of the music and the expressive message within the annotation,” explained Martin.

“All directors from each representing school are expected to be present at every rehearsal and performance that the students are in. I will be assisting in tuning and supervision of any honor orchestra member,” he said.

“St. Louis Metro District 8, as well as any other honors or auditioned ensemble, is a great way for our students to continue to push their limits and fly high with students who are as talented, or more talented, than they are,” said Martin. “This experience is essential for a meaningful and ‘bar-raising’ experience that we are continuously striving to provide our students at GCAA.”

“Students walk away from the overall experience enriched. This includes students who don’t make it past the audition process. The simple act of going through the process of music preparation, which includes excerpts and several scales, and meeting application deadlines, are valuable lessons every teacher wants to expose their students to,” he continued.

In 2012, two students from GCAA were selected for the orchestra – Carney and Daniel Schmidt.