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The Grizzly Gazette

The Student News Site of Sepulveda Middle School


The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

SMS Students Bring Beautiful Music to CSUN’s Soraya Theater

Monroe Community of Schools Honors Ensemble brings students together on April 6.
J. Tu
SMS students rehearsed for their performance at The Soraya Theater at CSUN on April 6. 2024.
On April 6, 2024, many SMS students were invited to perform at the first Monroe Community of Schools Honors Ensemble.  Our students had the honor of performing on the Soraya Theater stage under the direction of CSUN Professors. We spoke with SMS music teacher, Ms. Tu, and eighth grader, Amirah Archilla, about what the experience was like.

How did the idea of this performance happen?

Ms. Tu: The teachers from all of the schools in the Monroe Community of Schools have been working together to create a partnership with each other and CSUN since last school year.  This concert was a culmination of that work.

Amirah Archilla, 8th grader: The performance happened thanks to Ryan Gonzales and three middle school teachers; Ms. Cho, Ms. Nielsen, and Ms. Tu (shoutout!!!). They gave middle schoolers like us in this underprivileged area a chance to show that we can be amazing working together.


Who participated?  How were they chosen?

Ms. Tu: All of our students in Advanced Orchestra and Advanced Band combined with the advanced bands and orchestras of Holmes MS and Vista MS to create the Honors Ensembles for this concert.  Monroe High School’s Symphony and the CSUN Wind Ensemble also performed.


Who was the director?

Ms. Tu: Professor Linda Mouradian conducted the orchestra while Dr. Larry Stoffle conducted the band.  Both are highly respected professors of music at CSUN.


Why was CSUN chosen for the performance?

Ms. Tu: CSUN has been working with the Monroe Community of Schools for a few years now, having CSUN music students offer free private lessons to our students at Monroe High School in their Saturday Conservatory.  The new premier Soraya Theater on the CSUN campus was a dream venue for this concert.  The hope is to inspire our students to plan for college and beyond.


How did your students prepare for such a big stage?

Ms. Tu: The work began when each student entered our music room for the first time as beginners.  We have been working on the current music since the start of the Spring semester.  We held 2 rehearsals at Monroe HS where our students combined with the Holmes and Vista kids to rehearse with Professor Mouradian and Dr. Stoffle.  We arrived at the Soraya Theater hours before the performance so that each group could have a 30 minute sound check before the concert.


What pieces of music were played by SMS students?

Ms. Tu: The Orchestra played “The Prayer”, Brandenburg No. 5, “Korean Folk Tune” and “Dragonhunter.”  The Band played “The Tempest”, “Spirit of the Stallion” and “Wade in the Water.”

How did it feel to perform?

Archilla: It felt amazing and nerve wracking, really, speaking from both band and orchestra. Band was loud and the orchestra was louder than ever before; both had its perks. I really liked the echo of the stage, however.


Did you feel nervous?

Archilla: I did in the beginning, but then again I didn’t because I’m used to performing like that. I decided to go with the flow of the music.


How did it feel for you and your students to perform in front of so many people?

Ms. Tu: Everyone was very nervous.  The venue was overwhelmingly beautiful and held an audience bigger than they had ever performed for.  However, due to their hard work and preparation, they were still able to perform at their best.  All of the students, families and myself were overflowing with joy after their performance.


Did your hard work pay off?

Archilla: I think our hard work paid off; there were some videos that were taken and they really showed that we were extraordinary and outstanding.

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About the Contributors
Julissa Alvarez De Leon
Julissa Alvarez De Leon, Staff Writer
Julissa Alvarez is a 7th grader at SMS Gifted Magnet.
Seth Paras
Seth Paras, Editor-In-Chief, The Grizzly Gazette
Seth Paras is an 8th grader at SMS Gifted Magnet. He umm ..... uh... wait umm ... hmmm ... he is an uhhhhh, kinda um ......, so like ......... he ummmmm, like uh........

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