Greyhound Orchestra students receive Division 1 Superior Rating

San Benito High School Greyhound Orchestra students earned a Division 1 Superior Rating during the University Interscholastic League (UIL) Region 28 Music Program Contest that was held at the San Benito Veterans Memorial Academy in the Spring.

San Benito High School, Harlingen High School, Harlingen South High School, Mercedes High School, and Weslaco High School were the five schools that participated in this contest.

Due to health and safety protocols, the UIL Region 28 Music Program allowed UIL judges to travel to each participating campus to provide judging services for the contest. The competition consisted of two parts – Concert and Sight Reading.

For the Concert component, students are required to perform three pieces of music and are judged based on their performance, phrasings, and showmanship. Each of the three judges rates the students on technique, tone quality, musicianship, music style, interpretation, and most importantly, intonation.

The Sight Reading component of the contest requires that student musicians perform a musical piece that they have never seen before. The students and director have seven minutes to practice the piece without their instruments making any sounds. In orchestra lingo, this technique is called “shadow bowing.”

At the end of the seven minutes, student musicians perform the piece from beginning to end. In addition to evaluating the music qualities as in the Concert component, UIL judges rate the students’ response to the director’s instruction and conduction.

“The students were able to overcome all obstacles and performed these pieces with great passion creating beautiful harmonies and bringing home a Sweepstakes,” said Karina Vela, SBHS Greyhound Orchestra and Mariachi Director.

All twelve student musicians received uplifting compliments and were applauded by all UIL judges. This is a rare feat in UIL Music competitions.

“Our students gave one of their best performances,” concluded Vela.