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Westport's Staples Chamber Orchestra Hit The Stage At Boston Symphony Hall

The Staples High School Chamber Orchestra traveled to Boston earlier this month to hear a concert, have a class and play on the Symphony Hall stage.
The Staples High School Chamber Orchestra traveled to Boston earlier this month to hear a concert, have a class and play on the Symphony Hall stage. Photo Credit: Melani Lust
The Staples High School Chamber Orchestra traveled to Boston earlier this month to hear a concert, have a class and play on the Symphony Hall stage.
The Staples High School Chamber Orchestra traveled to Boston earlier this month to hear a concert, have a class and play on the Symphony Hall stage. Photo Credit: Melani Lust

WESTPORT, Conn. -- The Staples High School Chamber Orchestra, a select group of string players who audition to play in the ensemble each year, traveled to Boston on March 4 to hear a concert by the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall.

The trip was the culmination of their year playing together and provided them with a chance to experience a world-class orchestra in performance.

According to Staples director of orchestral music Adele Cutrali-Valovich, the trip had several goals. "Our students are already playing at a pretty advanced level. We wanted them to see their accomplishments in a wider perspective, compared to the very best in the world. The Boston Symphony exposed them to a great orchestra, giving a great performance, in one of the world’s great concert halls. I saw it as a win, win, win."

The students traveled to Boston by bus, attended the afternoon BSO concert and then enjoyed a master class by Benjamin Levy, one of the BSO's double bass players.

"The master class taught us to be aware of the style and mood of the pieces we play, not just the notes, and inject those elements into our playing," said Jonathan Demeter, a senior viola player in the Chamber Orchestra. "He encouraged us to carry those feelings into our playing to make our level of performance even more challenging and more fun for the audience."

As part of the master class, the students were invited to play on the Symphony Hall stage as an orchestra, an experience none will ever forget. "I wanted to give our young musicians the chance to ramp up their playing in that breathtaking space," Cutrali-Valovich said. "The excitement of the magnificent acoustics and the rich history of all the great musicians who have played Symphony Hall were palpable and my students were truly moved. It carried us outside the bounds of Staples High School and into another realm. I must admit, it was one of the high points of my career as a music educator."

The Chamber Orchestra returned to Westport to prepare for its spring series of concerts.

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