CCPS Orchestras Earn Distinguished Assessments

Published 7:00 am Friday, March 18, 2022

The orchestras from three Clark County Public Schools made beautiful music earlier this week.

The ensembles from George Rogers Clark High School, Campbell Junior High School and Baker Intermediate School each received a distinguished rating at the Kentucky Music Educators Association Assessment.

The event was held Monday and Tuesday at the Singletary Center for the Arts on the University of Kentucky’s Lexington campus.

Email newsletter signup

“This is something that all the musical ensembles, including choir, band, and orchestra, attend each year,” Nicola Rohr said. “It’s an event where the group performs in front of a set of judges. There are four different judges, and you perform a set of pieces that you’ve prepared.”

Rohr is the orchestra teacher at all three schools. She said the ensembles are evaluated on how they sound together during the performance and their ability to sight read.

“Sight reading is when the students see a piece of music for the very first time and perform it,” Rohr explained. “The sight reading is to test their ability to read music and learn quickly.”

Ensembles are collectively rated using the same system as the commonwealth’s end-of-year standardized testing. They can receive a novice, apprentice, proficient or distinguished rating.

Each rating is broken down into different categories such as tone, intonation, rhythm, and musicality.

In all her years working for CCPS, Rohr said that it has been a common occurrence for her orchestras to receive the highest possible mark.

Still, she does not want past group’s accomplishments to make her students complacent.

“I compare it to my students to running a marathon. Thousands of people run a marathon every year, but it does not mean that it is easy to earn it,” Rohr said. “You really have to give a polished and highly refined performance to earn that distinguished rating.”

And this year’s trio of hard-working orchestras proved that they were up to the challenge.