In a show of organizational prowess and artistic skill, musicians from around the Eastside and Puget Sound joined with the combined orchestras of the Lake Washington School District’s forty-three schools tonight for a world record-setting attempt at Juanita High School’s giant Fieldhouse.
The event, String Jam 2010, sought to set the record for the Largest String Instruments Ensemble, or, more specifically, the greatest number of people playing the same tune on string instruments at the same time at a single venue.
Sponsored by the City of Redmond and KING FM, the concert consisted of three pieces: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Canon in D, and Smoke on the Water.
The consecutive performances were carefully observed by two independent witnesses – Dr. Gary K. Stimac and Dr. David L. Ege – who will be sending notarized statements to Guinness World Records attesting that all the requirements laid out in advance for the record attempt were successfully met.
The concert really was something. We’re talking about some four hundred musicians playing together in the middle of a massive gym, supervised by a group of stewards watching to ensure that participants were actually performing. Most of the performers played violins; the rest played violas, cellos, and double basses.
It was a sight to behold. There were so many it wasn’t really possible to fit the whole group into one panoramic shot with the camera, though I tried.
Joining conductor Paula Ferguson on stage for the concert was renowned musician Geoffrey Castle, who wowed the audience with his mastery of the six-string electric violin. Castle later performed several of his own selections while the independent witnesses were checking to see whether participants met all the criteria necessary before submitting evidence to Guinness World Records.
In adherence with the record attempt guidelines, participants were cordoned off on the gym floor by yellow caution tape. Every performer had to sign his or her name in a log book, fill out an index card with contact information, and then exchange that for a green numbered wristband. The logbook and index cards will be submitted to Guinness, along with extensive photographic and videographic proof. Guinness will then determine whether a record truly was set.
Whatever Guinness’ determination is, students and community members from across the Lake Washington School District and beyond proved tonight that an appreciation of the fine arts is alive and well here on the Eastside.