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December, 20, 2022
10:15 AM - 11:15 AM


W 190


High School String Ensemble


Conductor Thumb
Sandra Lewis

Performer Details

Performer Bio Synopsis

Situated in the heart of Silicon Valley, Henry M. Gunn High School serves 1,900 students in Palo Alto, CA. The Palo Alto Unified School District is well-known for its tradition of educational excellence, and is regularly ranked among the top school districts in the state of California and in the nation. // Gunn High School’s vision statement is to prepare students to thrive as global citizens in a rapidly changing world by developing students’ problem-solving skills and nurturing their curiosity, creativity, and resiliency. // Gunn High School’s robust music program serves 485 students, and offers three concert bands, three string orchestras and a symphony orchestra, three choirs, two jazz bands, and AP Music Theory. The music team is supported by Kelly Martin, our district Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator, and by Todd Summers, Gunn’s Visual and Performing Arts Instructional Leader. The Gunn Orchestras are co-directed by Sandra Lewis & Tiffany Ou-Ponticelli. // The Gunn High School Orchestras have performed for national, state, and local conferences, including the American String Teacher Association National Orchestra Festival (2018), California All-State Music Education Conference (2013, 2010), and CMEA Bay Section Conference (2018, 2016, 2011). This is the Gunn Orchestra’s second appearance at The Midwest Clinic after their performance at the conference in 2013. The Gunn Music program offers musical travel opportunities for students; recent Gunn Orchestra tours have included Hawaii, Atlanta, and Southern California. Gunn Orchestras also regularly perform at community events, including partnerships with Stanford Lively Arts and local assisted living facilities. Members of the orchestras have participated in the California All-State Honor Orchestras, CODA Honor Orchestras, and National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America. The Gunn Orchestras also consistently receive Unanimous Superior ratings at CMEA Festivals, and partners with organizations like the Klein Competition and the Sphinx Virtuosi to bring guest artists into the classroom. Gunn Orchestra has also had the opportunity to work with members of the Alexander String Quartet, Tokai Quartet, St. Lawrence Quartet, and the Ives Quartet. Gunn Music also hosts a chapter of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, with service and community performance opportunities available for music students. // Gunn Orchestra’s values include fostering social growth, developing teamwork via small chamber ensemble work, and prioritizing repertoire diversity. Each member of the Gunn Orchestra belongs to a “family group” hosted by senior members of the orchestra, who help to set the culture of our ensembles. We prioritize time for social and emotional learning in tandem with musical growth. Additionally, every member of the Gunn Orchestra participates in and performs with a small chamber ensemble throughout the year, providing opportunities for leadership and team-building. Gunn Orchestras also value repertoire diversity as a core tenet of our program, and we welcome the conversations that arise when programming music by composers from historically oppressed groups. It is our goal to help shape students to become curious, life-long appreciators of music through the experience of playing in an ensemble that values their commitment and artistic dedication. More information about the Gunn Instrumental Music program can be found at our website:

Henry M. Gunn High School Chamber Orchestra

Conductor's Bio

Sandra Lewis resides in San Jose, California and began her musical training at the University of Hawaii where she studied both clarinet and violin and received a Bachelor of Music Degree. She completed a Master's Degree in Violin Performance at San Francisco State University. She currently works at Henry M. Gunn High School as orchestra director and assistant band director. Passionate about chamber music, she was the recipient of the Morrison Chamber Music Fellowship. Participants in in this program were provided opportunities to train with the Alexander String Quartet, known for mentoring aspiring musicians for careers in music. After receiving a Master's Degree, she served as one of three directors at The Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music in Nelson New Hampshire from 1989-2000. In 1999, she went with Apple Hill Chamber Players to Amman, Jordan where they shared their "Playing for Peace" project. She continues to encourage young musicians to play chamber music and provides numerous opportunities for each member of the Gunn Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra to participate in chamber ensembles throughout the school year. Mrs. Lewis began her tenure with Henry M. Gunn High School in August of 2002. Over the years the string orchestra groups have consistently received superior ratings at CMEA festival and contests. In 2013 the Gunn String Orchestra was invited and performed at the Midwest Clinic. Sandra Lewis is a proud NAfME and ASTA member and has served as librarian for the Santa Clara County Band Directors Association. She is past CMEA State Secretary as well as the current CMEA Bay Section President.

Additional Directors

Additional Conductor Image

Tiffany Ou-Ponticelli