Yesterday was my third string festival in the Brewster Central School District and the first which included all the string students that I teach. The previous two festivals have featured my students in the Wells 7th and 8th grade orchestras, advanced 6th graders from Wells, and the Chamber Orchestra at Brewster High School, but this year I managed to convince George to bring in the Symphonic Strings as well. I see the Symphonic Strings kids in lessons every other week, but because of scheduling conflicts with Chamber Orchestra this year, I feel that I know the Symphonic Strings students better than ever. Because of this, it was nice to have them perform on the same concert with their other high school string peers.
When I began to program works for this year, I also knew that I was preparing viola solos for a Boyer audition. I wasn’t sure what my plans for next school year would be, but I did have some high hopes for repertoire in all of my ensembles. My favorite selections were Zuma Breakers (7th grade) and Across the Wind (7th grade), both by Doug Spata, and the second movement of Elgar’s Serenade for Strings (Chamber Orchestra). I had expected to play all three movements of the Elgar Serenade, but I’m not at all disappointed with my decision to limit their program to only 2 movements. Adding the third movement would’ve rounded out the work and added closure to the concert, but it would’ve diminished all the hard work that these students put into learning the first two movements. In a way, it was better for me to close out this Spring with such a peaceful movement since I know there will be rough times for the Chamber Orchestra in their immediate future. I wish I had a little more musical closure with them, but maybe it’s best that we were all left wanting more.