From Joel Ross, Orchestra Director at SHS and SKMS (just two of many roles):

On Saturday, the SHS String Ensemble traveled to Shenandoah University to play in our District Concert Assessment Festival.Each group at this event performs 3 songs and then sight-reads a new piece (standardized across the state) for a panel of judges (3 judges for the performance selections and 1 for the sight-reading). Two of the performance selections must come from the VA list of graded music; this determines the "level" of the ensemble. There are 6 grade levels of music:1-2 is beginner level (usually middle school)3-4 is intermediate5-6 is advanced.

Each judge then uses a statewide standardized rubric to score the performance, and assigns us an overall score of 1-5 (1 is the best):1 is basically an A, 2 is a B, 3 is a C, 4 is a D, and 5 is an F. 

Our String ensemble played grade level 5 music and received a 1 from every single judge! Ours was the only orchestra in the district to play at the advanced level (every other orchestra played grade 1-4).The Concert Assessment Festival is not a competition (it's really the music equivalent of an SOL standardized test), but for you competitive-type people among our faculty, take pride in the fact that we have the best orchestra in the district! :-)

-Joel Ross