String players join orchestral groups

Ninth grader, Sarah Schmitt, practices her cello during class. She was practicing a piece of music called “Fantasia on a Theme from Thailand.” This music is for the Chamber Orchestra Concert.
Photo By: Hanna Feathers

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Ninth grader, Sarah Schmitt, practices her cello during class. She was practicing a piece of music called “Fantasia on a Theme from Thailand.” This music is for the Chamber Orchestra Concert. Photo By: Hanna Feathers

Ninth grader, Sarah Schmitt, practices her cello during class. She was practicing a piece of music called “Fantasia on a Theme from Thailand.” This music is for the Chamber Orchestra Concert. Photo By: Hanna Feathers
Ninth grader, Sarah Schmitt, practices her cello during class. She was practicing a piece of music called “Fantasia on a Theme from Thailand.” This music is for the Chamber Orchestra Concert.
Photo by Hanna Feathers

Most schools have a music department. They have a chorus, a band and an orchestra. In orchestra, they play string instruments.The four basic string instruments used are violin, viola, bass and cello.

Ninth grader Sarah Schmitt plays the cello. Schmitt is first chair, so she’s in several orchestral groups. Those groups are chamber, quartet and Keystone. Chamber is a group of students who auditioned and tour elementary schools. Quartet is a group of first chair players. Keystone is a music festival where groups of students from PA schools come together and perform.

“I plan on continuing with orchestra after school because it’s a big part of my life,” Schmitt said.

Orchestra can take up a lot of time outside school. Chamber is on Tuesdays and Thursdays until 4, and quartet is after it for 20 minutes. Keystone is every Friday with upcoming rehearsals.

“I have made a lot of friends; all of my friends are from orchestra,” Schmitt said.

Schmitt got first chair in orchestra by auditioning, which many other students did. There are five first chair player,s and they each lead their section.

The Keystone festival will be held at the end of the month. Keystone participants will be traveling to State College where they will practice all day with other members. They spend the whole day there where they make friends, practice their music, and perform for an audience at the end of the day.

The AAJHS orchestra is big. It’s so big that each grade practices separately. Before, eighth and ninth grade orchestra shared a period for practice, but too many students are involved now. They have separate periods for practicing.

On Jan. 16, challenges will be held. Students who are unhappy with their seat have the opportunity to challenge another player for their seat. They each get a piece of music and play in front of judges. Usually, the challengers play in front of the music director, Kelly Detwiler, but because of the number of students challenging, they will just have to re-audition.