Brahmas’ Brahms Brings Top Prize in Big Apple


Above, students Bridget Pei (left) and Nicole Chen (right) hold the well-deserved trophy. (Photo Courtesy of DBHS Symphony)

Yusheng Xia, News Editor

A trip to New York added a new feat to the Diamond Bar High School Symphony Orchestra’s long list of accomplishments, as the team placed first at The Finals: National School Orchestra Championships.

This year marked the 13th championships, an event that features talented orchestra groups from all across the nation. Four high schools participated in the event, with DBHS edging out three other schools from Arizona, New Jersey, and Texas to claim first place. The actual competition took place on March 7 in the Lincoln Center near the heart of New York City.

“The victory is a confirmation of what an amazing faculty we have and how lucky the students are to be in a public school with such an advanced music program,” orchestra treasurer Nicole Chen said.

DBHS had performed Brahms Symphony No. 4 movements one, three, and four for the competition. To prepare, symphony orchestra had afterschool rehearsal sessions every Wednesday night in addition to a couple of weekend rehearsals. On stage, the practice translated to success as DBHS’s performance was enough to clinch the symphony orchestra first place.

“We were judged for playing, musicality, intonation and how well we stayed together as a group. We were also judged on how well we accompanied a person who had a solo, and how connected we were together as a group and to the conductor,” orchestra president Grace Chin said.

The first place accomplishment allowed the DBHS symphony orchestra to receive the title of Grand Champion and to be recognized as one of the top high school orchestras in the nation. In recognition for their achievements, the group received the prestigious Orchestra Cup, which they will keep for one year until the following year’s winner is announced.

“I think the most important reason we won is the fact that we have so many adults and coaches guiding us all the time. We have adults who help us with logistics, and we have coaches we teach us music. Their dedication is amazing and I honestly don’t think we could have done it without their guidance,” Chen said.

The group participated in the same competition two years ago against a bigger field of competitors, placing second. Many members this year credit the jump to first place and the improvement of the orchestra to increased practice times in preparation for the event.

“Honestly, it was just hard work paid off. The last time we went to compete in this competition, we didn’t have as many rehearsals or sectionals [while] this time we had five rehearsals in the week before going to New York and we had many full day Saturday rehearsals leading up to the competition,” social chairman Eric Zhu said. “It was just a good feeling to know that all our hard work wasn’t to waste and winning all the extra awards was just the icing on the cake.”