Santa Cruz Music in the Parks

One of the things I would like to do this summer is more blogging. It is something I enjoy doing but usually do not have time to post regular. A bunch of posts have backed up… so now’s the time to catch up!

On May 15th, Holmes Junior High Advanced Orchestra went to Santa Cruz for the Music in the Parks competition. I was a chaperone and, of course, brought my camera along.

We had to get up super early, like 5 something AM. Then we took a long bus ride down to the Santa Cruz boardwalk. The buses had no place to go and ended up parking on the street. There was no place to warm up either, so the kids just warmed up on the street. There’s Mr. Moreno, the director, on the left there, with the roller coasters from the Boardwalk in the background.

It isn’t every day you stroll down the street and see musicians tuning their instruments and warming up.

Good thing it was a long street. There were a lot of kids!

Some groups spontaneously formed and played the game “Let’s See How Fast We Can Play This Song Without Falling Apart.” Of course I enjoyed my daughter’s playing the most. But then, I am her mother. So I guess that is allowable.

Time to gather…

Then walk to the competition location…

Which was a really big and airy hall. Students from other schools made up the audience.

Mr Moreno warmed up the orchestra. It was amazing how even playing scales made a difference. At first they were kind of out of tune and rough-sounding, but after a while they came together beautifully.

But then a seagull decided to serenade everyone. Time to stop and enjoy the music. Ok, maybe not enjoy. Can’t say seagulls really have much musical training.

The kids performed wonderfully! Davis really has a wonderful music program.

Here’s a view from the back of the orchestra.

My daughter, the concertmaster! Sniff sniff. Wipe away tear. I’m so proud of her.

It was really a wonderful performance. The judges in the back made notes while listening.

Time to pack up instruments. Here’s my daughter, with a “Why does my mother have to be a shutterbug and stalk me?” look. Ah, such is the lot of a child with a photographer blogger mother.

Then it was time for everyone to get tickets.

While the kids went around on rides and had fun, parents took turns chaperoning and manning stations on either end of the park. My friend April and I parked out by the roller coaster. I crocheted and she played Angry Birds on her phone until her battery died. We did a lot of laughing and waved at kids as they walked by.

It was cloudy and windy and very cold. Last year it was like 90 degrees. Not this year! April noticed a rainbow around the sun. Sure was hard to take a picture of it though.

After an afternoon of fun, it was time to go to the park and see who won the competition.

The winners were announced.

Davis got the highest score — 97 out of 100! The next runner up was 92 points. This was among different groups like bands and choirs and other orchestras. They were the only competitor for the Junior High division, so that was an automatic first place.

But then we found out they won First Place for Overall Orchestras. Wow! That was the big trophy.

Team shot! (Do you know how hard it is to get a big group of junior highers together???)

Congrats, Holmes Advanced Orchestra!

Had to get a shot of the trophy for record’s sake.

After that it was time to go play a little more. Since a wristband was included with the field trip, parents could go on rides too. Unfortunately I’m not much of a thrill seeker, so I eyed those roller coasters dubiously. Nope.

Heights? I don’t think so.

Ah… a ride that is more my style. One that goes like 3 miles per hour. April said, “Let’s look at people’s expressions to see if this ride is any good.” As they came out she said, ” Uh oh, they look bored. That is not a good sign.” We went on anyway. We found out there was a good reason those expressions were not terribly excited.

But I did go on a spinny, twirly, swoopy, flashy, blinky ride with my daughter for 3 minutes. About a few seconds into the ride, I was pretty sure I was done with the ride. At 1 minute 30 seconds, I was definitely done.

After I staggered out, I thought, “The things mothers do for love…” It ended up being a 15-hour day with all the travel.

But I was glad I got to go. The kids just grow up too fast. And I’m super proud of  Megan and the kids for how well they performed. They’ve put in a lot of work and it shows!

A Yee

Angela Yee is a professional designer (graphic design, stage design, interior design — and teaches leadership skills at

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  1. Carmen Lin - June 2, 2011

    Congratulations to Mr. Moreno & his orchestra! To the concertmaster as well! It is incredible to remember Megan first as a baby and a little girl whom I used to babysit and then in a few years she suddenly grew up to be a young lady! Thank God for giving her the talent and the willingness to practice. Keep it up, Megan!
    To me, the rainbow seems to be a reminder to us that all of this is by God’s grace. He is the one to receive all the praise & glory!

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