Medford Students' String Ensemble Wins Gold Medal

The McGlynn String Ensemble of middle- and elementary-school students received the highest score at a statewide festival, despite only being able to practice once per week.

Article, info, and text provided by the Medford Public Schools:

On Sunday April 1, the McGlynn String Ensemble, under the direction of Sophia Chang, received the highest score to win a Gold Medal rating from the Massachusetts Instrumental and Chorus Conductor’s Association (MICCA) Band and Orchestra Concert Festival.

The Festival is a three-day event held in six locations across the state. This year over one hundred and sixty ensembles participated. The musical groups performed in front of a panel of adjudicators and were evaluated on a medal system.

According to the MICCA website, it is their purpose to “encourage and support high performance standards by high school, middle school, and elementary school musical organizations.”

The McGlynn String Ensemble was founded in 2009 by music director Sophia Chang to encourage the development of high musical standard. The ensemble meets only once per week after school, while many other festival participants rehearse daily during the school week.

Currently the McGlynn String Ensemble involves twenty students, and they performed three pieces: Brandenburg Concerto No.5 by Bach; “Jupiter” from The Planet, Op. 32 by Holst, arr. by Monday, and Die Meistersinger, Prelude to Act I by Wagner, arr. by Sophia Chang.

Chang, now in her ninth year of teaching at McGlynn and Brooks schools, speaks about the string program at Medford:

“The children at Medford are fortunate to have instrumental programs. I think Mrs. Caron (Marsha Caron, the former director of Fine Arts at Medford) has set up a strong foundation for the string program over the years.”

Mrs. Chang also speaks about the ensemble’s achievement:

“It is the result of the effort and enthusiasm of every student that we can pursue music-making together. I am so glad that their MICCA experience is inspiring and rewarding.”

Despite of the diversity of grade levels and technical levels, the McGlynn String ensemble received the highest score to earn a Gold Medal rating at the MICCA Concert Festival.

“Since the ensemble only meet once per week after school, rehearsals need to be efficient," Chang said. 

According to Chang, Moodle online teaching system at Medford allows her to teach beyond the limit of time and space in a traditional classroom setting.

“I hope that the children will keep up the good work, for there is no end to the perfecting in music. I also want to extend my heart-felt appreciations to the parents, teachers and administrators. Special thanks also go to those who provided us valuable musical suggestions: Mary Alyce Groman, concert mistress of Wellesley Symphony Orchestra and Marsha Caron, former director of Fine Arts at Medford. The Gold Medal wouldn’t be made possible without their generous support for music education,” said Chang.

The String Ensemble will join the Gold Medal recipients to perform at Mechanics Hall in Worcester on Sunday, April 22 at 2 pm. Admission is free to the public.

The McGlynn String Ensemble MICCA Festival Team:

First Violin

  • Ann Le, McGlynn, Gr.8
  • Serena Do, McGlynn, Gr.8
  • Danielle Le, Roberts Elementary, Gr.5
  • Rachel Nere, McGlynn, Gr.8
  • Leighton Helleberg, McGlynn, Gr.8

Second Violin

  • Joanna Zhou, McGlynn, Gr.5
  • Emily Pham, McGlynn, Gr.7
  • Zoe Pancic, McGlynn, Gr.8
  • Nicholas Keniston, McGlynn, Gr.7

Viola/Third Violin

  • Louis Chin, McGlynn, Gr.8
  • Laura Schmidt, Andrews, Gr.7
  • Stella Eliopoulos, McGlynn, Gr.6
  • Andrew Nguy, McGlynn, Gr.6
  • Sebastian Tringale, McGlynn, Gr.6


  • Iverson Eliopoulos, McGlynn, Gr.7
  • Justin Tseng, McGlynn, Gr.6
  • Mateos Sahakian, McGlynn, Gr.7
  • Leonidas Pancic, McGlynn, Gr.6
  • Joseph Farah, McGlynn, Gr.7


  • Charles Todhunter, Andrews, Gr.6


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