Clague 8th Grade Orchestra Performing at the Michigan Music Conference


Courtesy of Benson Liang

Clague 8th grade Orchestra at Devos Performance Hall on Jan. 20th, 2023 (Insert) Ms. Alwin and Mrs. Paddock receiving a plaque from the MMC.

Benson Liang, Staff Writer


On Jan. 20, 2023 from 11-11:45 a.m., Clague 8th grade Orchestra performed at the Michigan Music Conference (MMC) in the DeVos Performance Hall in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Seven pieces were played during the performance, directed by Clague Orchestra directors Ms. Abigail Alwin and Mrs. Elizabeth Paddock, and professor Michael Hopkins of the University of Michigan:

  • Gagliarda from Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite No. 1  Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936); arranged by Carrie Lane Gruselle
  • Slavonic Dance in E Minor Op. 46, No.2                            Antonin Dvorák (1841 – 1904); arranged by Marcia Fountain
  • Arcopolis (City of Bows)                                                        Michael Hopkins (living composer)
  • Tonight from West Side Story                                              Leonard Bernstein (1918 – 1990); arranged by Robert Longfield
  • Concerto Grosso in D minor Op. 3, No.11                         Antonio Vivaldi (1678 – 1741)
  • Meteor Shower                                                                          Yukiko Nishimura (living composer)
  • El Pollo Ricardo                                                                        Luis Alberto Fernandez (1887 – 1947); arranged by David Scott

The MMC is a three day event that features school ensemble concerts, performances from Honor Choirs, All-State Bands and Orchestras. This year, Clague was the only middle school in the state invited to play at the MMC. The performance was a great success.

“It was a wonderful performance,” the Clague Middle School principal Kyron Harvell said. “I am so glad to have the opportunity to join this event in my first year at the Clague Middle School”. 

Indeed the performance was great, but the journey to this point was not given for granted. 

“The students in the 8th grade Orchestra were 5th graders when the world was shut down in March of 2020 due to the pandemic,” Clague Orchestra director Abigail Alwin said, “These students were incredibly resilient, having to spend their entire 6th grade year learning their instrument online. They took extra challenges and made more efforts than normal to reach this point. This was one of my most favorite moments, and I will always remember it inside my heart that you guys did great during the performance!”

Clague Orchestra associate director Elizabeth Paddock was also very excited.

“These students are my first students after I returned from a 15 years leave from music education,” Mrs. Paddock said. “I am extremely proud of their performance given the effects the pandemic brought to everyone. It was a very heartwarming experience seeing the students performing well on the stage.”

The students also felt great.

“I think the performance was pretty decent, it also felt really special to perform there,” 8th grader Siddarth Sangi said.

“The performance was good, and definitely above expectation to say the least,” 8th grader Victor Tarca said.

Lots of experiences and memories were created and remembered for the students during this trip, with the most memorable being the actual performance that would last for a long long time. 



Clague 8th Grade Orchestra:


Thisali Bandaranayake, Ada Buis, Sounak Debnath, Andrew Etchill, Isaac Fan, Connor Fong, Vivian Gatonez, Andy Han, Alex Liu, Seoungeun Moon, Rebekah Muthyala, Shunki Nagai, Kastren Okuka, Angad Pal, Tessa Purman, Siddharth Sangi, Abbey VanderWerp, Gina Wallace, Kevin Xu, Mina Zetoune, Michelle Zhang


Aiza Ahsan, Regina Jiang, Rachel Kim, Ezra Luo-Jourden, Victor Tarca, Jacob Thompson, Hannah Wen, Anna Yin, Sophia Zheng, Katherine Zhou


Keunhyung Cho, Jhanvi Giddu, Anna He, Yuto Higashimura, Drew Hoffman, Daniel Kim, Benson Liang, Anika Raman, Lang Ren, Gina Shin, Darsh Vats, Elle Wesling 


Lochlan Manthey, Gulsara Yakubova