The Arcadia High School Orchestral Music program has three performing orchestras lead by directors Mr. Tom Forbes and Ms. Pin Chen.
The three orchestras give many different performances throughout the school year. Aside from concerts, the orchestras also take part in various competitions and festivals, in addition to the annual Benefit Dinner. Members of the orchestras also have the opportunity to perform in small chamber groups and quartets in various fundraisers and other events.
The Orchestra program is divided into three Orchestras: Orchestra I (Freshman Orchestra, Orchestra II (String Orchestra) and Orchestra III (Symphony Strings). The Symphony Strings makes up the nucleus for the Arcadia High School Symphony Orchestra.
Orchestra I (Freshman Orchestra) is composed entirely of freshman. What has traditionally been a group of about 50-60 members has in recent years blossomed into a grand ensemble of over to 100 members. Ms. Chen conducts the orchestra, which performs many concerts, ranging from a beautiful Winter Concert, to the nice Spring Concert, to the Fall String Concert (which it is one of the six orchestras performing). The orchestra also performs yearly at Disneyland's California Adventure and takes a trip to Long Beach where they perform at SCSBOA String Festival.
Orchestra II (String Orchestra) has in the past been the largest of the three groups, so large (165 members), in fact, that it's director, Mr. Tom Forbes, has split the group into two periods in order to accommodate the size of the orchestra room. In addition to their many concerts, the orchestra goes with Orchestra 3 on the annual 4-5 day tour to places such as San Diego and San Francisco. On the tour, the orchestra also teams up with Orchestra 3 to compete as the Arcadia High School String Orchestra, which perennially wins prestigious awards at the competitions.
To be a member of Orchestra III (Symphony Strings), the musicians must audition. The group performs a wide variety of music, from Dvorak, Mozart and Mendelssohn to Andrew Lloyd Webber and John Williams. In this past year, the orchestra competed in the Heritage Festival at San Jose, CA, and won multiple awards, including Best Orchestra Program and Best Performance by an Orchestra. The ensemble often joins with brass, wind, and percussionists from the band to perform as the Arcadia High School Symphony Orchestra in many of the year's concerts. The orchestra is directed by both Mr. Forbes and Ms. Chen.