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The festival, sponsored by the American String Teachers Association (ASTA), took place in Santa Clara, California as part of ASTA’s national conference on February 18 – 20. This marked the third time in six years that the orchestra, comprised of students in San Domenico’s elite Virtuoso Program for talented teenage musicians, has been invited to compete and returned as winners, having taken home the same trophies at their appearances at the festival in 2008 and 2005.

“The word was out that the girls from California were the group to hear”

The Orchestra da Camera’s public competition performance took place at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, February 19, 2010 before a panel of judges and a standing-room only audience. Virtuoso Program Music Director George Thomson remarked that among the more gratifying aspects of the Festival this time was that the Virtuoso Program competition performance--usually only attended by family, friends, and a smattering of spectators--was packed, with standees, even. “The word was out that the girls from California were the group to hear,” Thomson said.

Competing orchestras are split into four categories: High School String Orchestra, High School Full Orchestra, Youth Orchestra, and Middle School Orchestra. The Orchestra da Camera competed in the High School String Orchestra category, performing a public concert that was evaluated by a panel of music educators on their technique, tone quality, intonation, rhythm and interpretation. Students also attended masterclasses, where they performed for and listened to essay editing service fellow student musicians from other participating orchestras from around the country. The festival culminated in a Gala Awards Dinner & Dance for all of the orchestra students, where ratings and prizes were announced for each category and the Virtuoso Program’s Orchestra da Camera was named Grand Champion Orchestra.

Besides their National Orchestra Festival successes, the orchestra has received numerous awards and pay for papers recognitions in recent years, including performing on NPR’s From the Top in front of a sold-out audience at Stanford University in 2006, and hosting several renowned performers for guest artist masterclasses including Yehudi Menuhin, Franco Gulli and the Cavani String Quartet.

The Virtuoso Program was established 1977 by San Domenico School to offer a highly advanced curriculum of music and academic training for talented high school string players from Marin County and the greater Bay Area.

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