Despite the snowy, icy weather that closed schools on Monday and caused such a bad accident on Route 1 that the Unionville Chadds Ford School District had to close again on Tuesday, the District 12 7/8 StringFest went off without a hitch!
Patton was represented by two 7th grade violinists, three 8th grade violists, and an 8th grade cellist in the 100-piece orchestra of students from 22 local schools. The families of these students were in for a real treat with this StringFest because the rehearsals and performance were held in the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center — part of Upper Darby High School. This is a huge space with stadium-style seating which allows the audience a fantastic view of each and every musician. It was also nice for us teachers to be able to easily walk all around the orchestra as they rehearsed or sit up in the higher seats and keep an eye on the progress of our individual students.
The conductor for this event was Gary White of the Philadelphia Sinfonia who brought a lot of experience and an array of helpful string-specific suggestions to the podium. Though horn was his primary instrument, Mr. White’s time studying with Luis Biava at Temple University and later conducting the Pottstown Symphony instilled in him a passion for string music. His was an ambitious program, and my students from Patton worked hard for many weeks to prepare their parts. They performed:
- The Star Spangled Banner by John Stafford Smith arr. Paul Lavender
- Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 by J.S. Bach arr. Merle Isaac
- Allegretto from Symphony No. 7 by Ludwig van Beethoven arr. Robert Longfield
- Farandole from L’Arlesienne Suite No. 2 by Georges Bizet arr. Merle Isaac
- Blue Grass Ball by Bruce Chase
- It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing) by Duke Ellington and Irving Mills arr. Robert Longfield
- New World Symphony from Symphony No. 9, Mvt IV by Antonin Dvorak arr. Deborah Baker Monday