Douglas Anderson chamber orchestra one of six in country to receive Midwest Clinic invite

Douglas Anderson chamber orchestra one of six in country to receive Midwest Clinic invite

Brian Griffin, 39,  can’t suppress his boyish grin. It’s the same one he must have worn at age 10, when he took his first violin lesson.

The South Carolina native and San Marco resident now directs the orchestra programs at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. Griffin’s shy smile emerges when he speaks about the latest national accolade for the school: His top orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra, has been invited to perform at the prestigious 66th Annual Midwest Band and Orchestra International Clinic — an esteemed honor for music educators and music students across the country.

The DA Chamber Orchestra is also the first high school string orchestra from Florida to receive an invitation from the Midwest Clinic in Chicago. It is one of among only six orchestras nationally that will perform there this December.

“This honor reflects our students’ determination and sacrifices over the course of many years,” explained Griffin, who began directing orchestras at DA in 1996. “The application process was rigorous in itself, requiring several audio and video recording sessions. The recordings were evaluated by national leaders in music education and music industry.”

Griffin is not the only one grinning.

“Our students were so incredibly excited when I shared the invitation with them. I couldn’t be more proud of the kids and their hard work,” he added.

The hard work isn’t over yet, though. While school may be out for the rest of Duval County, Griffin’s Chamber Orchestra students will attend numerous summer rehearsals, already on the schedule, as part of their preparation for Midwest.

The Douglas Anderson School of the Arts Chamber Orchestra includes 20 students, grades 9 through 12, from all over Northeast Florida. In 2011, the orchestra was invited to perform at the Florida Music Educators’ Association’s Clinic-Conference, and the program consistently ranks among the top high schools in Florida in the number of students represented in the All-State Orchestras.

The Midwest Clinic invitation comes on the heels of another national accolade for the school’s music program: the Grammy National Signature School Award. The Douglas Anderson School of the Arts Music Department earned the Grammy National Signature School distinction in both 2010 and 2012.

Douglas Anderson’s Chamber Orchestra will travel to Chicago in late December. These students are raising $35,000 to cover their preparation and travel expenses. For more information on helping the orchestra with a tax-deductible donation, please contact Griffin, at [email protected] or (904) 346-5620, ext. 152.

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