Alumni join orchestra for winter concert

Leadership in class brings students together


Ayelet Prottas

Junior Iris Wallestad smiles while playing the violin during the orchestra concert Dec. 19. The orchestra played an array of different music to showcase their abilities.

Kate Schneider

Junior Alanna Franklin said she enjoyed the alumni coming back to play at the concert Dec. 19 so she could see some familiar faces again and learn from those she hadn’t met before.

“I thought it was really cool, especially because I was classmates with some of them. Then there was older people that I’ve never met, but it was cool to see how they thought the program was now compared to when they went here,” Franklin said. 

According to Park alumna Cassandra Welsh, being in orchestra was one of her favorite parts of attending Park and she enjoys getting to take part in again years after graduation.

“I love being part of the alumni for St. Louis Park, I loved being part of St. Louis Park High School and I loved being part of the orchestra,” Welsh said. “I love every opportunity to come back and play with the orchestra. I’ve also had the opportunity to play with the pit orchestra and that’s also fun.”

Orchestra teacher Kou Lee said he has been working on creating a community in the classes in preparation for the concert and has seen students grow through leadership.

“I worked them really hard during class. We also break down the sectionals, (which) means that the different instruments work by themselves, building leadership within the class,” Lee said. “Each section has their own section leader and having that support from your peers, everyone’s really grown from that, not just musically but also in confidence.”

According to Franklin, her favorite part of the concert is bonding with her classmates both prior to the concert and while playing together.

“(I was looking forward) mostly to hanging out with the orchestra before the concert. It’s really fun and we get to team bond and eat food together,” Franklin said. 

Lee said he was very proud of how the orchestra played even with the errors he noticed, which he said they will work hard in class to continue to improve and fix.

“They were very good, but being a perfectionist, I can pick out a lot of stuff (they need to fix), but they played very well. There’s a bunch they could improve on, but that’s something we’re going to go over in class,” Lee said.

According to Welsh, she sees how much has changed since she was at Park and is happy to see that even with growth, it’s still the same school.

“A lot has changed since I’ve been here, doors, facilities, I’m sure there’s plenty more classes,” Welsh said. “It’s been I think 16 years since I graduated, so I’m sure a lot has changed. But a lot is still the same, I still know my way around the building.”