Symphony members take collaboration into their own hands


Members of the Instrumental Music programs at Leesville have organized an extracurricular performance group known as the Leesville High Symphony Orchestra. The symphony is conducted by director Mark Stiles (of the LRHS Orchestra) and incorporates members of the school’s Orchestra and Symphonic Band programs.

The Symphony Orchestra began rehearsal on Thursday, October 14, and plans are in place for a performance alongside the Chamber Orchestra in a December 7 concert.

“Erica [Spear] announced [the Symphony] in band,” said Emily Farmer, a Symphony member. “I’ve had experience in an orchestra before, so I signed up.”

“I wanted to try something new and challenge myself, and experiment with the sounds of strings with woodwinds up close and personal,” said Nessa Mitchem, cellist.

The Symphony, consisting of close to 50 total members, is a joint project engineered primarily by orchestra and band students interested in playing more ambitious music.

“I think having strings and winds together can make a unique sound,” Farmer said.

At the recent rehearsals, the Symphony has practiced Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5 in D Minor – Reformation, which Galen Tim, a senior who helped organize the Symphony, hopes to have prepared for performance by December. Christmas music is on the agenda for the coming months.

“I like [Reformation],” said Farmer. “It’s a lot of fun, and there’s much going on musically – it’s a challenge.”

“It’s really challenging, but if everyone practices, then everything should go smoothly,” Mitchem predicted. “[The piece] has a lot of angles, which makes it unique.”

The last collaboration between the orchestra and band programs, excluding musicals, was a performance of the Finale to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 to conclude the Orchestra’s Spring 2008 concert. The success of the event among the audience and the players helped to bring about the launch of the Symphony this year.

“I think it sounds amazing so far,” Mitchem, a junior, said. “Sure, we have some kinks to work out, but the overall performance seems like it’ll sound outstanding.”

Thanks to practices at least twice every week, the Symphony musicians are progressing – seemingly at a pace that points towards long-term success. Perhaps this newly-invented collaboration can become a long-standing tradition.


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