A Musical Beginning to the New Season

By: Kaity Martin

The Barren County High School Orchestra played at Jackson’s Orchard Sept. 23. This is the sixth year they have performed for the opening of autumn under the direction of Orchestra Conductor Amberly Bush. It was also the first concert of the 2017-2018 school year.

Upon arrival, there was already a decent sized crowd listening to the performance of other local school orchestras. Once it was Barren’s turn, family and friends of the performers gathered around with their cold apple cider slushies on the hot day to listen to the performance. The orchestra played four pieces from familiar movies and video games such as Star Wars and Journey. The concert lasted for about one hour, and the audience left delighted.

“I think our first concert went really well. We played harder music than we typically do at the beginning of the year, and they did a really good job with preparing it,” said Bush.

Many of the students that participated in the concert were proud of their first performance of the year.

“Despite the heat, everybody stuck through it and ended up playing pretty well. Everything as a whole was good, and the audience seemed pleased, as well as the musicians,” commented Lily Barry, a violinist.

Jacob Smith, the principal cello, had a solo in “Apotheosis” from the video game Journey, “The first concert was nice. I had a solo, and since the concert was outside I had to play louder than usual, so that was different from what I’m used to.”

The Jackson’s Orchard concert wasn’t the only thing happening for orchestra that weekend; the day after the first concert, there were all-district orchestra auditions being held at Bowling Green High School. All-district brings the best string musicians from all over our area together to perform a concert.

“For all-district, you audition and if you get in they tell you your chair and give you your music. You get to practice for a month to prepare all the music. Then, you have a concert for all the parents and anyone else that wants to come,” said Shannon Jeffries, who earned second chair viola at all-district.

Seven people from the BCHS orchestra auditioned, and all of them got in. Those orchestra members are: Lily Barry (violin), Madison High (violin), Kayla Sanders (violin), Shannon Jeffries (viola), Kaity Martin (viola), Chyrston Jones (viola), and Ella Jones (cello).

Barry shared her audition experience, “It felt a little stressful at first, but after entering the building and seeing everybody from other schools be natural and practicing just as I was, it really eased me. The scorers who listened to my pieces and scale were friendly and made everything, overall, more comfortable. I’ve done all district before, and it’s a real experience to be able to meet other people from around the area that are just as interested in music as I am.”

After these two events, goals have been set, and plans have been made for the year. Bush wants to perform some advanced pieces this year. She admits, “Play a couple movements from a Beethoven symphony, that’s the main goal.”

Students have set personal goals and goals for their section, “To really broaden my level of music I can play, within and without our orchestra, is something I want to work towards this year,” said Barry.

Smith added, “One of my goals this year for my section is to get them to practice. I want them to learn to set aside time each day to practice the music we are working on in class.”

Jeffries has made it a goal to audition for all-state orchestra. The all-state orchestra is a step up from all-district; the music is much more challenging and it’s much more difficult to be accepted. Students who plan to audition will have a month to prepare the audition music, and then they will audition in Owensboro at the end of October for a spot in the orchestra.

“For all-state I plan on practicing a bunch of etudes and some old Foster Music Camp music to get me ready for the level of difficulty of the audition piece,” revealed Jeffries.
The next Barren County High School orchestra concert will be Oct. 30, and it will be Halloween themed. Orchestra members often dress up in Halloween costumes for this yearly concert. This is the favorite concert of many orchestra members, and they have already begun preparing some spooky music for the event.