Yesterday, treating myself to a Father’s Day present, I went to hear the Garfield High School Orchestra play an afternoon concert. The group is about to leave for their annual tour to Japan and performed for a packed audience at UW’s Meany Hall. We have several students in the violin sections, so I was interested in seeing and hearing how the ensemble sounds at present.
The orchestra performed amazingly well, better than I’ve heard it in the past. The location might have something to do with it, as the hall is by far the best auditorium for music in Seattle, other than the new opera house, McCaw Hall. Even this school orchestra’s sound was full and the balance was good between instrument groups. The strings were shimmering and if I closed my eyes, it was hard to believe this was a high school orchestra. The intonation in the winds and brass was better, and different instrument groups were overall more even than I’ve heard in previous years. This city ought to be proud of the orchestra program at Garfield, especially at a time when education in classical music is just about disappearing in the public schools. There is no doubt the upcoming tour will be a huge success.
The greatest joy was to see how enthusiastically these young people treated every piece in the program. There were no bored or unhappy looking musicians to be seen: everyone was having a grand time. Lucky kids! Bravo to their conductor, Marcus Tsutakawa, for his hard work and the inspiration he has given these teenagers.