Band and Orchestra Shine at Music in the Parks

Faculty advisor Melissa Thatcher leads the orchestra at the Music in the Park Competition.


            On May 7 and 8, OBHS’s Band and Orchestra took part in the Music in the Parks competition, with the Band placing first and the Orchestra placing third. At this competition, which took place at Jackson Liberty High School, students in concert band and orchestra performed in order to receive ratings based on their performance level.

            Students who partook in the event practiced for months in order to ensure that they performed to the best of their abilities. Melissa Thatcher, the band and orchestra teacher, expressed, “It is exciting for me to see and hear my students performing again. It’s been a rough two years with minimal opportunities, and now other high schools are starting to host more performances. It has been great to have students display their talents in a setting outside of Old Bridge High School. These are truly talented students.”

             They took part in after-school practices and worked together to make sure that they executed a wonderful performance. Michelle Rymar, a student in the Orchestra, shared, “Personally, I simply put in the practice hours to perfect problem areas, and as for the orchestra, we all did our part in getting the music ready through fine tuning and writing in notes, when necessary, in order to really get what’s important engraved into our minds before we got on stage.”

Natalie Garcia, a member of the percussion section of the band, practices playing the marimba.

            For some students, performing in front of an audience was nothing new, but regardless of this, everyone had their own fears and worries before taking to the stage. Rymar explained, “I feared that we would either be terribly out of time or terribly out of tune, but before we set to perform, the whole group got together in the practice room and hyped each other up. The cheering and enthusiasm that I saw really calmed my nerves and brought up my confidence in myself and my fellow orchestra members.”

            Despite their uneasiness before performing, both groups of students did an excellent job and really let their skills shine during their performances. The Orchestra, which placed third, received an Excellent Rating. Keilani Warn, a student in the Orchestra, described the feeling of relief and positivity that her fellow students exuded after their performance. “My favorite part of the event was definitely exiting the stage and then talking with my classmates about how we did; I could feel the positive energy that everyone had around me, and it was really inspiring to see how proud we all were of each other.”

The OBHS band performs at the Music in the Parks Competition under the direction of faculty advisor Melissa Thatcher.

            In addition to placing first, the Band also received a Superior Rating. When asked how she felt about the Band’s success, Natalie Garcia, a member of it, expressed, “I felt very proud and was glad that our band’s hard work and practice had paid off.”

            Both Band and Orchestra students went home proud of their achievements and continue to look forward to performing in the future alongside their peers. “I felt that [the Orchestra’s success] was a great senior year gift for me and just a glimpse of the amazing potential that the younger members have going forward,” shared Rymar.

Posted on 5/25/22

Photos provided by Hayat Aydin and Melissa Thatcher

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