Concert to feature state’s top student musicians, and nearly one in four will come from IUSD

When the California Music Educators Association holds its annual All-State Orchestra performance next month, 112 of the state’s finest high school musicians will take the stage to form an ensemble of young all-stars.

Stunningly, no fewer than 26 of them will be from the Irvine Unified School District.

CMEA, which organizes the concert along with the California Orchestra Directors Association and the California Band Directors Association, recently announced this year’s winners on its website. Given that there are more than 1,000 school districts in California, it’s a pretty big deal just to have a few students participate. To boast 23 percent of the entire orchestra – well, that’s something else entirely.

Students in grades nine through 12 auditioned for the All-State Orchestra by submitting CDs of their work, and only the best of the best were selected to perform on Sunday, Feb. 19 at the William Saroyan Theatre in Fresno.

“This is an incredible accomplishment, and I’m so proud of all our student-musicians who tried out,” said Brad Van Patten, IUSD’s coordinator of visual and performing arts. “At the same time, I can’t say enough about our exceptional music staff, which put in countless hours to help prepare students and to record their auditions.”

Van Patten also praised the Irvine Company for its efforts to bolster music education, along with art and science. In 2006, the company launched its Excellence in Education Enrichment Fund, pledging $20 million over 10 years to help IUSD pay for specialists in grades four, five and six.

“This has been an extraordinarily successful program by any measure,” Van Patten said this week. “The students who are now distinguishing themselves in high school and college were the early beneficiaries of the Irvine Company’s generous donation, which has established a foundation for success in the arts and beyond.”

To see a list of this year’s All-State Orchestra performers, click here.