County Orchestras Participate in Pre-MPA Festival

County Orchestras Participate in Pre-MPA Festival
Posted on 03/05/2023

Gardner-Webb University and Cleveland County Schools partnered to create an opportunity for local middle and high school orchestral ensembles to perform and receive feedback from area experts.

Three area expert adjudicators watched the ensembles perform and then took the podium with each ensemble to provide direct feedback in a clinic environment. Dr. Patricia Sparti, Sarah Russell Tulbert, and Ruth Johnson.

“This was a world-class experience for our orchestral ensembles held in the beautiful Tucker Student Center on the campus of Gardner-Webb University,” said Greg Shull of Cleveland County Schools.” “The adjudication panel included phenomenal educators, making this event extremely valuable for our schools.”

Additionally, the individual sections of the ensembles were able to get hands-on learning opportunities with members of the Gardner-Webb University string faculty.

Mandi Colson and Peter Strickland, orchestra director at Crest High, coordinated the logistical aspects of the event, allowing our Gardner-Webb partners to focus on the adjudication, feedback, and learning portions of the experience.

“In a music classroom, no student is “sitting on the bench, and many events focus on the ensemble as a whole,” said Mandi Colson, the orchestra director at Burns Middle. “At an event like this, growth is focused on the ensemble, and then breakout sectionals allow students to gain more individualized instruction.”

In regards to the adjudication components, sound quality, technical accuracy, and musicality were the elements of focus throughout the performances. Breaking down the scoring sheet, tone quality, pitch, technique, rhythm, interpretation, musicianship, dynamics, and bow management were all considered throughout the evaluation process during the performances.

“There is also a combination of summative and formative assessment at this event,” added Colson. “This was exceptionally better than similar concert assessments. If a director’s ensemble needs growth in a particular area, there is time for adjudicators to work with the students and teacher.”

Many ensembles will use this “pre-MPA” experience to build momentum as they continue to work toward upcoming regional MPA (Music Performance Adjudication) events.

“This event is one of the most educational experiences I have had in 15 years of teaching,” said Colson.

Click here to view a few images from the event.