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June 1, 2010 > Hopkins music program collects more honors

Hopkins music program collects more honors

Submitted By Kim Nauman

A jewel of a performance by the Hopkins Junior High Advanced Orchestra capped off another string of successes for the school's highly touted music program this spring.

The orchestra's lush, sophisticated work was rewarded with two perfect 100 scores from the judges at the Music in the Parks Disneyland Festival on May 14. In more than 8,000 performances by school groups at the festival since 1994, only two other groups have earned two perfect scores. The judges, veterans of the music industry and music education, lavished praise on the Hopkins' orchestra, saying the performance was unprecedented for a middle school orchestra.

Hopkins dominated at the Disneyland Festival, bringing home seven first-place trophies. All four Hopkins groups - Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, and Advanced Orchestra - earned Superior ratings, the highest rating possible. Each group also took firsts in its category, competing against other middle schools. Advanced Orchestra also captured a trophy as best overall string orchestra, the Jazz Ensemble received first as best overall jazz ensemble, and the Hopkins Wind Ensemble was honored as the first place overall concert band.

The school's Concert Band and Intermediate Orchestra also brought home honors from the Music in the Parks Great America Festival earlier in the month, with both groups earning Superior ratings, first place in their respective categories, and overall first places for best concert band and string orchestra. The school's young orchestra program continues to establish itself as one of the premier programs in the state; the Intermediate Orchestra's 94.5 rating at the Great America Festival was the highest of any performing ensemble.

Hopkins' two orchestras also garnered much-coveted Unanimous Superior ratings at the CMEA (California Association for Music Education) Orchestra Festival at San Ramon in May, while the Wind Ensemble took home a Unanimous Superior, the Symphonic Band earned an Excellent rating, and the Concert Band landed a Superior at the CMEA Band Festival in April. Unanimous Superior is the highest rating possible.

Hopkins' tireless director of instrumental music, Greg Conway, has seen his groups earn a staggering 39 Superior ratings in competitions since 2006. In March, Hopkins Wind Ensemble was one of just two middle school bands invited to perform at the CMEA Convention, and the Advanced Orchestra, considered among a handful of elite middle school orchestras in California, has been invited to perform at the 2011 CMEA Convention.

The music program is an integral part of the Hopkins experience for many students. About 300 students participate in five classes this year: Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Intermediate Orchestra, and Advanced Orchestra. Conway also leads Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Workshop and works with a sixth grade band compromised of Hopkins' feeder schools.

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