This past Wednesday the symphonic orchestra, choir, and band of OHS performed at both the middle school and School #3. The program was designed to encourage students to remain in the district’s music program and peak younger students’ interests in playing an instrument or singing.
At the middle school, students from each performance group were dispersed around the high school students by instrument. Both the younger and older students played together and interacted with the music as well as each other. While the middle school only offers a glimpse into the programs available at the high school, the Symphonic Tour underlined all of the musical organizations available at OHS as they were introduced to groups like TRI-M, the Road Show, Pit Orchestra, etc. The middle school students were also able to get to know the high school teachers and students, so when coming into the high school, they would already be familiar with some of the people involved in the music program.
School #3’s performance was constructed in a similar manner to a concert. The orchestra, choir, and band played two songs each for the student audience. However, unlike a normal concert, the experience with the students was more interactive. For example, Symphonic Band conductor Mrs. Garcia asked questions to the children about the songs the band played. The students responded enthusiastically and seemed to be entertained by the performances.
Not only did the younger students enjoy the Tour, but the high school students appreciated this time to spend time with each other. Within the high school, sometimes it seems as if the ensembles are segregated, since practices are in our individual classrooms in preparation for the biannual concerts, and during the concerts, it is infrequent that performers get the chance to watch the others perform. At the elementary school, performers became audience members as well. In addition, between bus rides and setting up for the performances, the members were able to talk to each other about the music groups and become more integrated. If there ever was a moment of downtime someone was bound to hop on a piano and the group would sing some songs together for fun. The experience was great for participant on both sides. It was suggested by more than one performer that the tour will become an annual ritual and the exposure to the younger students in the district will elicit more participation in the high school music programs as these students enter OHS.