New music recruits excel


Sta y in motion: Concertmaster senior Helen Keithan holds her instrument under her chin while rehearsing for an upcoming performance. Keithan has been playing violin with the RBHS Chamber Orchestra for all four of her years here.

Ben Kimchi

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The music department faces a new set  of challenges and opportunities as the 2016-17 school year wraps up. Last month, auditions for band and chamber orchestra were held.Orchestra director Allison Schmidt said about 10 students auditioned,and she expects the orchestra to grow. “Our chamber orchestra allows for a higher level of playing here at RBHS,” Schmidt said. “However, I am concerned with how many seniors we have leaving right now and how it will affect our chamber group.”In chamber orchestra, seniors hold four
of the five principal chair positions. These seniors take on leadership roles for the entire
orchestra, Schmidt said. Several students inside the orchestra fear that seniors leaving could be problematic. “I’m worried because the seniors are the strongest players in their sections, and we will have to grow a lot as an orchestra to fill their roles,” junior chamber orchestra
member Zoe Wu said. “I am glad that they get to move on, though.”Senior Alli Foster, a cellist in chamber orchestra, says the problem will be solved quickly as she is optimistic of sophomores and juniors rising to “musical leadership.”This concern of leadership also
presents itself in RBHS band.“Right now everyone is skeptical about how the new eighth graders will do,” freshman band member Meredith Farmer said. “We are losing a lot of senior
talent, but I know the program will be fine.”Farmer recalls middle school band at Gentry as being a strong preparation for high school band. On April 10, eighth graders across Columbia Public Schools auditioned for RBHS. Gentry Middle School’s band students auditioned for RBHS as part of their grade.“All of my eighth grade band students prepare the placement audition and perform it as a cumulative assessment for middle school band,” said Gentry Director of Bands Amber Quest, who arranges this in order to allow for middle school band to
directly tie into high school band at Rock Bridge. “This placement audition also serves as an audition for the RBHS band program.” Quest says her middle schoolers have had “continued experience” with the high school band setting and is confident in their ability. For both orchestra and band,leaving seniors presents a fear of the future;however, Quest and Schmidt believe the RBHS music department will continue to develop. “It’s been a wonderful experience working with this community of musicians,”Foster said. “As long as our community continues its common goal of growing, RBHS will be able to maintain a strong orchestra and band for years to come.”