Orchestra gets opportunity to perform at annual festival


Harrison Heil

Dr. Mark Laycock, a professor at Wichita State University, conducts the chamber orchestras from each of the Olathe high schools.

Mara Gee, Reporter

For the concert and chamber orchestras, the morning of Oct. 3 was full of rehearsal for the annual Orchestra Festival.

The orchestras left for Northwest at 8:30 a.m. and practiced for three hours.

The festival consisted of all the Olathe high school orchestras, except freshman, coming together to practice pre-selected pieces of music.

“We used to have freshmen [participate], but it’s too big now,” Cathy Carter, assistant orchestra director, said. “It used to be staggered so that concert would go in the morning. Then we’d come back to get freshman and chamber, and they would stay until the concert.”

The concert orchestra was split into two groups and each played two pieces. The chamber also rehearsed and performed two pieces.

“The high school Orchestra Festival was created to showcase the orchestra programs,” Greg Ferguson, orchestra director, said. “[The cooperative atmosphere] gives students the opportunity to work with someone else.”

Each of the orchestra directors meet the previous year to “select music and talk about clinicians,” Ferguson said.

Other high school directors, or past high school directors, are selected as clinicians for the concert orchestras. College professors were chosen for the chamber students.

The clinicians are newly selected each year so students can benefit differently from each conductor they work with. This year the clinicians for concert orchestra were Rachel Dirks and Russ Pieken. The chamber clinician was Mark Laycock.

After the orchestras rehearsed during the day, the students came back to school to eat lunch from Goodcentsh. Later that night there was a concert for parents.