img_4038Story by Destiny White, Trey Martin, and Justice Nawman, photo by Trey Martin

 

As the school prepares for the winter holidays, different sections of the fine arts department prepared to put on winter concerts. The elegant sounds of strings from the orchestra classes filled the auditorium last Thursday.

“We practice for months, and our homework is to record certain measures that our sections struggle on so that we can perfect them in class,” senior Ashlynn Donaldson said.

The majority of students in orchestra have been playing their instruments for more than two years, but some tend to change their instruments over time.

“I started in fifth grade. I originally played clarinet, but I hated the spit, so I switched to violin,” Ashlynn said.

Some students were drawn to the orchestra by the sound of the music, motivating them to play.
“I’ve been playing for four years. I got into playing because my older sister played and I just love the sound and everything, so I decided to play,” Tonya said.

Pieces that are chosen to be performed in the orchestra concert come from a variety of time periods and genres.

“[There were] modern pieces and a couple of traditional tunes as well. There was a 20th century tune written in the 1920’s,” orchestra director Vincent Washington said.

The performers each enjoy their performances for their own reasons. According to Tonya, the beginning of the concert is the best.

“My favorite part is when we are playing the first song because it’s the beginning of our playing and it’s always like the best piece,” Tonya said.

As students go through their years in orchestra, they create long lasting relationships with their peers.

“I love the bonds you build in orchestra. You’re with the same people all four years unless some quit or move up to Master Class, but we all goof around like we’re family,” Ashlynn said.

For Tonya, orchestra is a way to relieve stress from school and enjoy life.

“My favorite thing about orchestra is that it’s fun and it calms you down at times. The sound of the instrument makes me happy,” Tonya said.

One of Washington’s favorite rewards as a teacher is to witness the musical pieces being brought to life by his students and the progress they have made throughout their high school career.

“[My favorite part about orchestra is] seeing the finished product and the progress the

students make,” Washington said.

Senior orchestra members reflect on their time with the group by watching young students perform.

“I loved watching the freshmen because none have switched into Master Class yet and I remember making the most friends that year,” Ashlynn said.

Preparation before any orchestra performance is the key component to a successful concert.

“First thing you have to do is learn all of the notes, and everyone has to learn their part. Then after everyone learns their notes, you have to try and make music out of it, get some emotion out of it. It takes hours and hours of practice,” Washington said.

Overall, the concert showcased the hard work the orchestra students put in throughout the first semester. Washington is excited about the future of the program.

“Hopefully we will have more exciting music, and hopefully it will continue to grow,” Washington said. “The kids put a lot of hard work into it, we have a lot of fun.”