Orchestra Tours Elementary Schools

Gwen Clark, Writer

The Washburn Rural first hour orchestra visited Auburn Elementary, Jay Shideler Elementary and the middle school orchestras on Jan. 28. The orchestra played a variety of songs for the audiences to enjoy. Orchestra director David Ohse says the band and chorus, along with the orchestra, go visit two elementary schools each year. They rotate each year between different elementary schools.

I try to do enough different styles of music and usually include a Disney selection,” Ohse said. “That is usually easy for students to enjoy.”

Freshman Latasha Bolok plays cello in first hour orchestra. She says the audiences enjoyed the songs the orchestra played.

I think that they enjoyed our performance,” Bolok said. “At Auburn the students started to sing Moana while we were playing and both schools were very respectful and enthusiastic.”

Bolok says her favorite song was the Disney selection for this years performance.

“My favorite song that we played was Moana because it made the kids smile,” Bolok said.

The orchestra played some songs they had previously learned because they only had a month to prepare.  

“We prepared by playing some music learned in the first semester and even some music that most of us played last year,” Ohse said. “That made the learning quick and easy with only January to make the final preparations.”

Sophomore Jean Boac says the performance and preparation helped her advance her skills as a violin player.

“I prepared by practicing the songs and playing with everyone during rehearsals,” Boac said. “We gained more experience in performing for other people.”

Bolok says the trip is a good opportunity to interest elementary students in the orchestra instruments, and encourage the middle school orchestra players to stay involved at school next year.

“The purpose of performing for these elementary schools is to encourage the students to play in orchestra,” Bolok said. “But the general moral is the message to the kids going into middle school or deciding to play an instrument. It’s good to be involved with these certain activities [and] groups.”

Ohse says the trip is a chance for the students in the high school orchestra to gain more experience performing.

“I will take advantage of any chance I can get to allow us to perform.  When we perform 4 times in one day, it is very different from the one performance of an evening concert,” Ohse said. “It is a learning experience about how it feels to perform that much. It is edging into what it feels like to play as a professional musician.”

He also views the trip as a chance to inform younger students about orchestra, as they get to decide if they want to play in orchestra, band, or chorus at school in 5th grade.

“The other purpose is excite the elementary students about joining us in string orchestra.  Bringing the 5th and 6th grade string players up to watch up close is useful to show them more about what we do,” Ohse said. “However, our real target was the 4th graders. They get to make the choice to join us next year. I hope the concert helps them choose us.”