Features

Spartan Legion orchestra integration

Photo by MATTHEW BAHK & JAIMIE HSU

By MATTHEW BAHK

To improve the quality of music that the Schurr Orchestra performs, Antonio Castro hopes for a daily orchestra class.

“I’m trying to change the mindset from the top down. It starts with the students and parents wanting a daily course to raise the level of the music the students play to a high school level,” said Castro.

The Schurr Orchestra meets on Monday nights, for two to three hours a week, whereas the band practices about 16-20 hours a week. To make up for the difference, Castro hopes for a daily orchestra class that would have members practicing daily, eventually enabling the orchestra to perform music at the level they are expected to reach by high school.

When compared to the band’s music, the level that the orchestra plays is easier. However, the orchestra plays at a middle-school level to accommodate for the variety of skill found in the string players that take the course, whereas the band plays music at a high-school level. Ranging from students that only play once a week to those who play outside the orchestra, with private lessons, conductor and teacher Dr. Anne Rardin spends a quarter of the two-hour class  period tuning her students’ instruments to prepare for  practice.

“The progress made in the orchestra is one-step forward, two-steps back. This is caused by a lack of retention. The information and practice from a two-hour class cannot be reinforced enough for students to remember properly after a week space,” said Jared Long, Schurr alumnus and band student-teacher.

Currently, the orchestra class meets after-school on Monday to accommodate Students with full course schedules who still wanted to take the class. However, Castro believes that schedules can be adjusted for students who want to take a daily class. The afterschool Monday night course will still exist for Dr. Rardin to come and work with the string players.

“I see a future where the orchestra becomes stronger, so we can talk and perform with our music at a high school level. We are barely hitting the surface of the level that these orchestra students can play,” said Castro.

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