PHS Orchestra’s Noteworthy Year Ahead

PHS Orchestra’s Noteworthy Year Ahead

Zach Isaacson and Sophia Walcher
eSomethin Staff

The amount of anticipation the Perrysburg student body has for upcoming events is steadily growing as we head into our second month of the new school year. The excitement is at a height as teachers, advisors, and students all encourage participation from new students in their classes or clubs.

Mr. Michael Smith, director of the PHS Orchestra (Photo credit: Sophia Walcher)

Out of all the programs around the school, one of the most popular is that of the music department. That’s right, choir, band, and more specifically, orchestra. Mr. Michael Smith, the director of the orchestra program, is already working exceptionally hard to promote the upcoming events of the 2017-18 school year.

New students who come from the Junior High may be interested in performing with the orchestra. Luckily, PHS has that option available.

Smith explains that “we offer 5 different string orchestras that are specifically designed by grade level or by ability level.  Chamber Strings is offered for freshman, Classic Strings for sophomores, and Concert Strings for juniors and seniors. There are two audition entry string orchestras: Symphony Strings and Select Strings.” Smith continues, “We also offer a 6th orchestra which is a full symphony orchestra. That is for woodwind, brass, percussion and strings, and that is a class that meets on Tuesday evenings.”

PHS senior Emma Baumgartner has been playing the violin for 7 years, and is very invested with the orchestra: “This year, I succeeded in landing a spot in the top orchestra, Select Strings, where we play college-level music.”

When asked what her favorite part about orchestra is, Baumgarterner says that it has to be the irony behind the class: “It is the most relaxing and care-free period of my day, yet my brain is working the hardest during it. Mr. Smith creates an atmosphere that allows us to relax and relieve all stress from our lives for 50 minutes.”

Alongside the new students entering the program, there are many upcoming events to be looking forward to. The orchestra’s first concert is on September 20th, entitled the ‘Classics Concert’.

“This concert is a little earlier than normal. So, every orchestra, we have 5 string orchestras performing, they do some sort of classical piece and then a fun, exciting piece to go along with it,” Smith explains. “Each group is only doing two numbers on this.” Students will also be presenting a synopsis of pieces before each orchestra’s performance along with student groups performing in between the orchestras during the transition periods.

Ms. Kathleen Schnerer, director of chamber/classic strings (Credit: Sophia Walcher)

Ms. Kathleen Schnerer, the teacher for Chamber and Classic Strings, expresses her excitement for another upcoming concert. “I’m looking forward to implementing my class curriculum, as well as the Crystal Concert.” The Crystal Concert is a bi-yearly concert that features the orchestra, band, and choirs. This year it will take place December 12-13.

But wait, that’s not the last of the future events! “We are once again hosting the regional orchestra, honors orchestra, and state competition,” says Smith. The Northwest Regional Orchestra and OMEA Honors Orchestra are both designed to highlight the talents of the area’s foremost string and band players. Along with that, OMEA Solo and Ensemble provides a medium for junior and high school players to receive ratings and feedback based on a solo or small ensemble performance. Additionally, “Our 3 older orchestras have an opportunity to perform in Toronto in the spring for a competition.”

Aside from the competitions, the orchestra program is also involved with other fun events. Baumgartner, who also serves as the two-time chairperson of the orchestra spirit committee, is in charge of decorating the strings wing throughout the year along with planning several bonding activities for the students. “This October, we plan to visit a farm/pumpkin patch to paint pumpkins, venture on hay rides, get lost in corn mazes, and just really have fun with the whole orchestra family while getting in the autumn mood.”

If you want to be involved in the orchestra program at PHS, you can contact Michael Smith by email at msmith@perrysburgschools.net

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