High School Ensembles
Continuing the tradition of excellence as one of Michigan's premiere high school orchestras
The Grand Haven High School Symphony Orchestra is one of the premiere high school orchestras in West Michigan. Grand Haven has consistently received First Division Ratings at MSBOA District VII Festivals. In addition, student orchestra members have maintained a continuing tradition of excellence by earning First Division Ratings at both District and State Solo and Ensemble Festivals and participation in the MSBOA All-State Orchestra.
The Symphony Orchestra performs a broad range of music from classical to contemporary in a string and full orchestra setting. The very challenging repertoire dictates that students possess at a minimum an intermediate to advanced proficiency on their primary stringed instrument. Objectives include: the continuation of good technique, reading and performance of music at an advanced level, using good teamwork and leadership skills coupled with a positive attitude to achieve excellence.
The Symphony Orchestra is offered three trimesters per year, and is open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors through audition or in special situations with the approval of the Director. Auditions are held in the spring for fall placement. Concerts include: Halloween, winter, Pre-Festival, District/State Festival, and spring.
Other activities include: District/State Solo & Ensemble, after school rehearsals with winds for the full orchestra setting, sectionals, and any special functions or concerts. Performance in the annual school musical is optional and by invitation. Individual orchestra students are also encouraged to participate in adjudicated Solo and Ensemble Festival at the District level, with possible advancement to the State Festival. Private lessons are strongly encouraged. VIDEO
The overwhelming success of the Grand Haven High School Orchestra Program resulted in the addition of the Concert Orchestra in 2006. The Concert Orchestra is a traditional string orchestra performing both classical and contemporary music. Focus is on establishing good fundamentals, raising practice and performance standards and learning good teamwork skills with a positive attitude to achieve excellence. Concerts include: Halloween, winter, Pre-Festival and spring, District/State Festival. Other activities include District/State Solo & Ensemble, special functions or concerts.
All freshmen are required to be in the Concert Orchestra. In the Fall Sophomores Juniors and Seniors are placed, based on spring auditions, in either the Concert Orchestra (Basic to Intermediate level of difficulty) the Symphony Orchestra (Intermediate to Advanced proficiency on a string instrument), or Chamber Orchestra (Advanced).
Individual orchestra students are also encouraged to participate in adjudicated Solo and Ensemble Festival at the District level, with possible advancement to the State Festival. Concert Orchestra is offered all three trimesters during the year. Private lessons are encouraged. VIDEO
GOTAK is an extracurricular string ensemble that began in 2005 with a handful of orchestra students interested in exploring string music outside of the classical realm. GOTAK has grown significantly since then, and always excites the audience with their love of “fiddling” and sounds of Blue Grass, Irish and Celtic Folk Music, Jazz and Rock.
GOTAK performs at the orchestra concerts held throughout the school year (fall, December, spring), as well as occasional community events. They are the proud hosts of Grand Haven's annual Irish Fest.
The group is open to anyone currently enrolled in the Grand Haven High School Orchestra Program. Instruments that comprise the group include: violin, viola, cello, electric bass, mandolin, banjo, and guitar,Cajón, and Bodhrán. GOTAK meets once per week outside of normal class hours to rehearse, but most of all we “just have FUN!” VIDEO