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The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

Preview: RBHS orchestras to perform first concert of the year

Kaden Rhodes
Alison Lankheit conducts Chamber Orchestra rehearsal in preparation for the first orchestra concert on Oct. 19.

RBHS orchestras will perform in their first concert for the year Thursday, Oct. 19 in the Performing Arts Center (PAC). The concert will begin at 7 p.m. with the Concert Orchestra, followed by the Symphonic Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra. Admission to the concert is free. 

The orchestras are separated into three groups by playing level, ranging from Concert Orchestra (least advanced) to Chamber Orchestra (most advanced). The students were placed in an orchestra through video auditions during the end of the 2022-2023 school year. 

Many freshmen with prior playing experience in the middle school orchestras joined the RBHS orchestras. The students were taught at separate middle schools, including John Warner Middle School, Ann Hawkins Gentry Middle School and Jefferson Middle School. Although taught under different instructors and expectations, freshman Lauren Miyamoto, violist in the Symphonic Orchestra, said adjusting to the high school orchestra has not been too difficult.  

“Not that much has changed [since middle school],” Miyamoto said. “Certainly I do miss the middle school orchestra, [but] I enjoy [the high school] class because of the talent […]. Mrs. Lankheit [also] helps describe how the class functions very well through emails [to guide the new freshmen].” 

All of the orchestras will play various repertories, ranging from baroque to contemporary music. Concert Orchestra will play “Ancient Flower” by Yukiko Nishimura, “The Lover’s Waltz” by Jay Ungar and Molly Mason and “Wood Splitter Fanfare” by Brian Balmages. Symphonic Orchestra will follow with “Hungarian Dance No. 1” by Johannes Brahms arranged by Carrie Lane Gruselle, “Ballet No. 6” by Joseph Bologne and “Ghost Riders in the Sky” by Stan Jones. Finally, Chamber Orchestra will conclude with “Elementa” by Soon Hee Newbold, “String Quartet Op 1, No. 4” by Joseph Bologne and “Adagio for Strings” by Samuel Barber.

I hope for [the audience] to feel the music and almost move with it […]. [I want them] to feel the emotions and [to] hear the story.”

— Lauren Miyamoto

Alison Lankheit, RBHS Director of Orchestra, said it is difficult to choose music for the first concert because the playing level of the entire orchestra is not yet fully determined.

“I [usually] pull out music that’s typically the right grade level, and we sight read it,” Lankheit said. “Then, I start to find music that covers different genres, composers, styles and techniques that I want to use. The orchestras vary [by level] from year to year, but having the three groups really makes it easy to narrow [the level] down to find [the proper] music.”

The concert will flow in the same format as a professional orchestra, in which the concertmaster (the first chair violinist) will walk out onto the stage and stand before the rest of the orchestra to tune each section: violin, viola, cello and bass. Lankheit said it is important for the students to learn the formalities of being in a true orchestra and to learn by listening to each other perform. 

“I like the whole routine because [they can learn] real concert etiquette,” Lankheit said. “When [the students] hear the other groups, you can hear what else is out there and think [of ways] to improve. Playing an instrument can help with critical thinking, teamwork skills and building relationships. It can be motivating and hopefully, [it] builds confidence.” 

The Chamber Orchestra is playing without a conductor for “String Quartet Op 1, No. 4” by Joseph Bologne, which they have not done previously. Even as the piece poses challenges, sophomore violinist Karina Xing said she enjoys collaborating with others and the close-knit relationships it has created. 

“It’s my favorite piece within our fall concert list,” Xing said. “Many of us have experience with playing in quartets, with an accompanist or in smaller ensembles. [But the piece] is an engaging and stimulating approach to what we are [already] accustomed to.” 

The orchestras will be running last minute rehearsals in the PAC, a few days prior to the concert, and will continue to prepare for the performance through individual and group practices.

“I hope for [the audience] to feel the music and almost move with it […],” Miyamoto said. “[I want them] to feel the emotions and [to] hear the story.”

Are you going to attend the concert? Let us know in the comments below. 

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About the Contributors
Ema Iwasaki
Ema Iwasaki, A&E Editor
Senior Ema Iwasaki is the Arts and Entertainment Editor for Southpaw and Bearing News. She is a member of the National Honors Society and Spanish Honors Society. In her free time, she plays a lot of piano, travels and listens to classical music and jazz.
Kaden Rhodes
Kaden Rhodes, Staff Photographer
Junior Kaden Rhodes is a staff photographer for Southpaw and Bearing News. He loves rock climbing, weightlifting and driving.

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