Final concert for seniors

Orchestra Director Dr. Eunice Kang directs the mastery orchestra class during their fall concert. The orchestra’s last concert of the year will take place on May 15 at 7 p.m. in Mell Auditorium and will recognize the graduating seniors. “(This concert) is (the senior’s) final farewell performance with the orchestra and most of them have been in orchestra since sixth grade, so it’s a culmination of seven years of musical study and dedication,” Kang said. Photo by Katie Grace Upchurch.

By EMERSON MEYER – Staff Writer

The Clarke Central High School orchestra will hold its last concert of the year on May 15 at 7 p.m. in Mell Auditorium.

The Clarke Central High School orchestra will be performing in Mell Auditorium on May 15 at 7 p.m. for its final concert of the year. According to fine arts department teacher and orchestra director Dr. Eunice Kang, this concert is different from others throughout the year because it is the seniors’ last performance before they graduate.

“This concert is the most bittersweet because it is the final concert for seniors, and it’s always tough for me to say goodbye to them,” Kang said.

All three orchestra classes — intermediate, advanced and mastery orchestra — will perform separately, and then combine for a selection.

“(For the concert), we are currently working on ‘Kashmir’ by Led Zeppelin, ‘Ashokan Farewell’ (from ‘The Civil War’), ‘Drifen’ by Shirl Jae Atwell, ‘Young and Beautiful’ by Lana del Rey and we will add a couple more,” Kang said.

According to Kang, in preparation for the concert, members of orchestra have been perfecting their rhythm so they will stay in sync.

“For rhythm, we’ll practice with a metronome on the speaker. We will listen to the pieces every day. We basically try as much as possible to be a group by listening to each other, each section knowing what the other sections are playing, and just trying to raise awareness of the entire group and what’s going on,” Kang said.

Unlike the other concerts throughout the year, at this one, seniors are given the chance to perform by themselves, separate from students in all other grades.

“In Ashokan Farewell, (senior and violinist) Denise Sunta will be playing the solo part, and then the seniors will be joining in for the first half of the song before the rest of the (mastery) class joins in,” senior Taelor Threadgill, a violinist, said.

At the end of the concert, seniors are recognized for their time and hard work in orchestra.

“Seniors are always recognized at the end of the very last concert,” Threadgill said. “Dr. Kang will call our names out to everyone in the audience and then we will receive plaques with our names on them.”

In addition to being a final concert for seniors, it is a beginning for rising freshmen who will be coming to CCHS next year.

“We always love this final concert because the Burney-Harris-Lyons and Clarke Middle School eighth graders visit us and perform two selections with the entire combined orchestra,” Kang said. “This year they will perform ‘Gauntlet’ (by Doug Spata) and ‘Colors of the Wind’ from ‘Pocahontas’ together. It is really fun to host the rising ninth graders and introduce them to Clarke Central in this way.”

Davis looks forward to the concert and says the experience will have on the younger students.

“I think they’re going to be OK. I remember when I was in the eighth grade and I came to play and I had a lot of fun playing with the people. It’s going to be good for us now, because now we’re 10th graders and now we’re gonna be playing with the small eighth graders,” Davis said.

Reflecting back, Threadgill believes her time in orchestra has changed her. She says music is now an important part of her life and hopes that she will be able to continue music in the future.

“I think that without orchestra, I wouldn’t be as well rounded as I am today. Orchestra is more than just playing instruments, Dr. Kang teaches (us) and discusses with us the issues of the world today,” Threadgill said. “If I get the opportunity to continue in music, I would love to be able to do that. Music plays a huge role in my life, and it is fun being able to practice music that someone has composed and play it out in front of everyone.”

Kang agrees with Threadgill and says that orchestra gives her students skills and a passion for music which will stay with them past high school.

“(Being in orchestra) improves their analytical and critical thinking, as well as giving them organizational and time management skills. Also, music is something we all love, so being able to play an instrument is one of the best activities in the world. I hope being in orchestra makes them lifelong music learners who will continue to support the arts throughout their lives.”

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