The Chamber Orchestra is an advanced music class, and students may earn weighted credit by enrolling in IB Music Appreciation. Students in Chamber Orchestra receive exercises and assignments that will allow them to increase their technical abilities and theoretical knowledge. A year in Chamber Orchestra satisfies the Fine Arts graduation requirement for CUSD and the University of California.
Members of the Chamber Orchestra also participate in the Marching Band, the spring musical, and the SCSBOA All Southern Band and Orchestra honor groups. Members contribute to the string sections of the La Primavera Orchestra and the Pacific Youth Symphony Orchestras as well as the SCHS Symphony Orchestra.
Emphasis is placed on advanced instrumental technique, advanced musicianship, and development of advanced ensemble rehearsal skills. Literature is selected from advanced high school and college level music. The class itself will typically play as an ensemble but will also perform as individual players, separate sections, and in in-class duets, trios, and quartets. The IB performance component and public performances make the Chamber Orchestra a rigorous class, and pieces are prepared to performance level in a six week sequence. The course will address all parts of the orchestra from the single performer, section, and the ensemble as a whole. There is also a strong emphasis on the advanced musicianship skills of phrasing, dynamics, blending of individual sections, and balancing the ensemble’s holistic sound between the string sections. During the school year, the Chamber Orchestra will perform alongside the Wind Ensemble, Concert Orchestra, and Concert Band to provide the experience of performing in a symphonic orchestra, in particular during the Winter Extravaganza Concerts and the annual graduation ceremony of San Clemente High School. The IB Music Appreciation content is also covered in class. The students in Chamber Orchestra are exposed to some key parts of the IB curriculum as a full class but the students enrolled in either IB Music Appreciation Standard Level or IB Music Appreciation Higher Level will experience the full scope of the IB Music course. Key general IB experiences that are displayed for the entire ensemble are in-depth score analysis, music theory, scale and chord building, as well as style analysis of music in the areas of melody, meter, harmonies, medium, form, style, context, and voice. As a stunning result of the intensity and rigor of the course, the Chamber Orchestra has received a Unanimous Superior at the SCBOA District Festival for the past fifteen years. Private lessons are recommended for all members.