Brahmas record Brahms in Bay Area

After rehearsing for multiple months and enduring long bus rides, students from the Symphony Orchestra recorded at the Lucas Film’s Skywalker Studios during their trip to San Francisco over the weekend on March 7.

The Diamond Bar High School orchestra group performed and recorded Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 in the studio located at Marin County. The group spent fifteen hours recording during the trip.

The students also practiced with Sey Ahn, a guest conductor from Kentucky. She conducted the orchestra last year at their National Orchestra Cup in New York. Ahn helped conduct for their new piece in San Francisco.

In preparations for the trip, Symphony Orchestra also spent most of their time rehearsing for the recording.

“We’ve been practicing starting at the end of the first semester throughout the second semester,” junior Jennica Son said. “We had Wednesday rehearsals and Friday sometimes too.”

Symphony Orchestra was first invited to record at Skywalker Studios four years ago. They were recently given another opportunity to visit the studio, making this trip the orchestra’s fourth visit. Some members of the Wind Ensemble also came along to provide winds, brass and percussion for the recording.

“The quality of the recording is as close as professional as you can get with a high school group,” music director Steve Acciani said. “And the kids, just their overall mature approach to it really made it something special.”

Among the trip planning committee, there were also lots of concerns regarding the coronavirus disease. San Francisco had six confirmed cases of the disease over the course of the trip. In addition, the group was originally going to do a combined concert with another orchestra but it got canceled due to the coronavirus.

“We always have concerns, but what we did is that we met with healthcare professionals and some of our parents were doctors and nurses,” Acciani said. “So, we got the best advice possible, and we had hand sanitizer and washed down the buses every day while limiting our contact with other people.”

In addition, Son and sophomore Anica Chan were a part of the trip planning committee. Chan was the social chairperson and Son was the treasurer of the committee.

“My main job was to make sure everyone turned in their money on time and make sure we had enough money to go on the trip,” Son said. “It was also to make sure we could go to all the events we wanted to go to.”

Since the group had to record for fifteen hours in total, members spent more time at the studio but were able to have some free time in San Francisco.

“On the first day, we probably spent a good seven hours outside with free time but most of the time we were recording on Saturday and Sunday,” Chan said.

Unlike last  year’s trip to New York where they won the National Orchestra Cup, the Symphony Orchestra decided to make the recording rather than entering the usual competitions.

“We think that music most of the time serves a higher purpose for orchestras at such a high level, and we want them to be as professional as possible,” Acciani said. “So, the opportunity to do something memorable and lasting was more important than a trophy.”