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June 18, 2008 > Hopkins JHS Music Program Takes Top Awards

Hopkins JHS Music Program Takes Top Awards

Submitted By Helen K. Chang
Photos By Malcolm Hoar

Hopkins Junior High School Concert Band and Intermediate Orchestra earned superior ratings and swept the top awards in their categories at this year's Music in the Parks Festival award ceremony at Great America amusement park in Santa Clara.

At the May 10 event, the Concert Band also earned a First Place Overall trophy; an Outstanding Soloist medal was awarded to orchestra member Kelley Yuan for her violin performance in the piece, Rockport Images by Michael Story.

"Both the Intermediate Orchestra and Concert Band pulled off an incredible performance," said Gregory Conway, Hopkins music director. "The students have every reason to be proud of themselves; they showed tremendous teamwork and played beautifully together."

The day-long festival began with a bus ride from Fremont to Sunnyvale's Peterson Middle School. "Two very austere looking judges sat at tables between the band and the audience," observed Malcolm Hoar, trip photographer, chaperone, and father of Concert Band trombone player Angeline Wang.

"Hopkins Concert Band probably got the biggest cheer from the audience after their performance," noted fellow trip chaperone Wai-kong Chen, father of Concert Band flute player Merissa.

Afterward, "the kids all changed out of their uniform concert dress and into a wide and colorful variety of casual clothes. Soon it was time to get everyone back on the buses and depart for Great America...and then it was time for the fun and rides to begin," reported Hoar.

Eventually, students and chaperones converged on Great America's Nickelodeon Theater, along with about 750 students from 12 schools throughout Northern California to hear the outcome of the morning's hard work. Disappointed Hopkins students watched as one by one, trophies were awarded to other schools, until Elementary Orchestra Director Ms. Gina Ali reminded them that they had competed in a higher level category.

"Finally when they announced Hopkins the winner in the AA category, everyone was overwhelmed with joy," said trip chaperone Ellora Sengupta, whose son Rahul plays tenor saxophone in the Concert Band.

On behalf of their schoolmates, trombone player Angeline Wang picked up the first place trophy for Concert Band, violin player Emily Hou the first place trophy for Intermediate Orchestra, and Allen Peng the Best Overall Middle School Concert Band trophy. These three trophies cap a superlative year for Conway, who last month led Hopkins' elite groups - Advanced Orchestra, Symphonic Band, and Jazz Ensemble - to an unprecedented sweep of six top trophies and an Outstanding Soloist medal at Music in the Parks Festival at Disneyland.

Now in his third year at Hopkins, Conway has nurtured this year's students from the sixth grade Advanced Elementary Band. Furthermore, the strings program did not exist prior to Conway's arrival.

"It was a great moment for all of us and we were all very proud to be part of such an excellent music program," said Sengupta.

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