Samohi Orchestra Students Selected for State Honors Orchestra


The following is a lightly edited press release from SMMUSD. Read the original in English and Spanish, here.

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) is proud to announce that 15 Santa Monica High School (Samohi)
orchestra student musicians have been chosen, by audition, to participate in the highly selective California Orchestra
Directors Association (CODA) December Honors Orchestras set to be held at Stanford University from Dec.1-2, 2023.

Selected through a blind audition by experts, 102 student musicians from across the state joined the Symphony Orchestra.
Among them, nine hailed from Samohi. Additionally, six students from Samohi were chosen for the String Orchestra, contributing to a total of 96 students selected statewide.

“Our student musicians have such passion and commitment to their music studies,” said Samohi Principal, Marae Cruce. “We are very proud of our Samohi programs, our directors and these students who are very deserving of this tremendous honor.”

The full list of students selected for the orchestras are:

String Orchestra
Feben Ayele, 10th grade, Violin
Mylie Baker, 11th grade, String Bass
Emily Martinez-Santiago, 11th grade, Viola
Clara Percus, 10th grade, Violin
Christopher Rhee, 11th grade, Viola
Symphony Orchestra
Grayson Fitzgerald, 10th grade, String Bass
Gregory Gee, 9th grade, Cello
Natalia Guerra, 11th ,grade String Bass
Aerin Lee, 11th grade, Violin
Sarah Macwan, 10th grade, Violin
Sophie O’Brien, 11th grade, Cello
Alex Sebastian, 10th grade, Viola
Marina Shickler, 10th grade, Violin
Salomon Singer-Portnoy, 11th, Violin

The students will join exceptional student musicians from throughout California in Palo Alto, California accompanied by Directors Jason Aiello and Jim Wang, to work with their respective orchestras and their esteemed guest conductors.

The students will each learn their respective pieces on their own, outside of and in addition to their school repertoire, and then will have one day to rehearse together with their orchestra peers at Stanford University on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023. The performances will be held at the Bing Concert Hall on the Stanford campus on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023 at 2 p.m., and they are open to the public.

The purpose of the CODA is to promote school orchestras in California by providing quality Samohi musicians chosen for the CODA Orchestras, honor orchestra experiences for high school students. CODA also facilitates an exchange of instructional strategies and ideas for the school orchestra director and provides a community and forum for school orchestra directors.

SMMUSD makes music education a priority, providing instruments and music instruction to all interested students starting in fourth grade, all the way through matriculation. The top Samohi orchestras have performed in world class venues across the United States and the world, and the program is recognized as one of the top in the country.

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