December 1, 2016– The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra announced five finalists for its second annual High School Orchestra of Distinction program, whose purpose is to provide recognition, encouragement, and support to outstanding and promising high school orchestras in Central Florida. Participants completed a rigorous screening process, being asked to provide information on their past performance assessments, connection to elementary and middle “feeder” schools, parental involvement, and more. Schools getting past the written application stage were asked to submit anonymous, unedited audition tapes that were then assessed by professional musicians, community leaders, and orchestral experts.
The 2016-2017 finalists are (in alphabetical order)
Dr. Phillips High School (Raine Allen, director)
Freedom High School (Brian Hellhake and Suzanne Vascik, directors)
Olympia High School (Brandon Bangle, director)
Timber Creek High School (Staci Conkling, director)
Trinity Preparatory School (Maureen May, director)
“The Orlando Philharmonic is proud to support our local high school orchestras,” says Dr. Leia Barrett, Director of Education. “The hard work and determination seen on a daily basis by these schools is extraordinary.”
For the final adjudication round, judges will attend each school’s holiday concert, adjudicating schools on both professionalism and performance. Two schools will be chosen as award winners and named the High School Orchestra of Distinction and the High School Orchestra in the Wings. Both awardees will be recognized onstage by the Orlando Philharmonic at its final Classics concert, Mahler 2: Resurrection on Saturday, April 8th at the Bob Carr Theater. These two schools will also qualify for a partnership with the Orlando Philharmonic the following season that offers special student opportunities.
For more information about this program and to learn about the 2015-2016 finalists and awardees, visit www.orlandophil.org/orch-distinction or email Director of Education Dr. Leia Barrett at Education at LBarrett@orlandophil.org to learn more.