The sixth through eighth grade All-Island Middle School String Orchestra competed in the Great East Music Festival on Friday, May 5, and made their mark. The string orchestra, which consists of eight violins, four violas, three cellos, one double bass, and one acoustic guitar, performed three pieces. Though the Great East Music Festival is a noncompetitive festival, groups perform for a panel of judges, and each performance is rated on a points system, the total of which will equate to a platinum, gold, silver, or bronze medal. Each group is scored independently.
The All-Island Middle School String Orchestra director, Rebecca Laird, and students Alex Royal, Alexis LaVigne, Cuyler Fisher, Ayslly Otoni, Charlotte Cramer, Ondine Hitchen, Stella DeBettencourt, Violet Werther, Addison McDonough, Addison Blake, Talia Young, Sofia Fisher, Sienna Crowell, Elise Laird, Robert Riis, Dylan Hitchen, and Ava Laird, from Oak Bluffs, Edgartown, and Tisbury schools, traveled to Springfield for the festival. Joining them on a charter bus were the All-Island Middle School Band, which also performed.
Though the band has been going for decades, this is the first time that the string orchestra has ever attended this festival, and the first competition they’ve ever participated in. To receive a platinum rank at the festival, groups must score a 95 to 100. The All-Island Middle School Orchestra scored a 95 and a 96. The adjudicators told the string orchestra that out of all the other choirs, bands, and strings, they were the only ensemble to receive platinum that day. They also suggested that the string orchestra make a recording, and submit it to the 2023 Massachusetts Music Educators Association as a model string ensemble.
To celebrate their standing, the students spent the afternoon at Six Flags New England before returning to the Island and stopping for pizza at Papa Gino’s.