Orchestra winter concert creates community

Middle and high school orchestras unite


Jessie Belen

Freshman Audrey Martin plays her violin at the orchestra concert December 15. This was their last concert before winter break.

Ivan Zank and Charlotte Cox

Park orchestra’s most recent concert on Dec. 15 focused on a holiday theme to celebrate the end of the year and the last concert before winter break.

Orchestra teacher Kou Lee said he wanted to play winter classics, without being too religious. 

We played ‘Carol of the Bells’ and we played ‘Kashmir’ by Led Zeppelin. And then we played ‘Green Sleeves.’” Lee said. “I wanted to do some holiday stuff, but stuff that is not religious. I thought that ‘Carol of the Bells’ was something that was very familiar and it wasn’t religious or anything. ’Green Sleeves’ is pretty traditional also, and then for ‘Kashmir,’ I just wanted to do something super fun that the kids would love.”

Sophomore Maren Hobman said the themes for concerts should be more consistent and mirror the songs being played. 

“Our themes don’t really fit with (the songs we play),” Hobman said. “I wish we did more related to themes (that made sense).” 

One of the more unique things about this concert was the inclusion of the middle school, according to Lee. Usually, only the high school orchestra performs, but this time, the middle school was invited to participate. 

“This was the first year that I had both the middle school and high school perform in the same concert,” Lee said. “(I was) running around a lot and I tried to be as prepared as possible, but just being even more prepared would’ve made things go smoother than they did.” 

For junior Mae Turnman, the best part of orchestra is being able to perform and the sense of unity the orchestra brings. 

“The community and the actual playing (are my favorite parts),” Turman said. “The music is really fun, but the people and how we interact with the music is probably the most fun for me.”

Looking toward the future, Lee said he hopes to introduce the students to new music for Park’s alumni concert, as well as music from a popular film. 

“The orchestra really wants to play music from ‘Howl’s Moving Castle,’ so we might be doing that, but I did tell them that they have to work on it on their own and then we’ll rehearse it in February and see where we are,” Lee said. “I also have some other stuff prepared, some very lyrical, slower stuff. One of them is called ‘The Far Away Place,’ and so with that piece I’m hoping that students come back and play for the alumni concert. It feels like they’re coming to a familiar place that they’ve been away from for a while and then that piece from ‘Howl’s Moving Castle.’”