Sat. Jul 2nd, 2022

Leesville Orchestra, lead by Mark Stiles, has begun preparation for their winter concert — December 9.

Stiles has been at Leesville for sixteen years. He teaches at both the middle and high school, and his students love him.

Pierce Do is no exception. Do, a senior, just started his second year in Chamber Orchestra.

“[Stiles] is passionate about what he does, and he really cares about improving the skills of students,” said Do.

First period Stiles teaches String Orchestra, which is mostly underclassmen and more intermediate. Fourth period he has Chamber, which is mostly upperclassmen and more advanced.

There is also a performing group called Melos that meets outside of school. Melos is an elite group of orchestra students chosen by Stiles to play at various events. The events they play help raise money for the orchestra. They can be heard at Schiano’s every second Thursday of the month.

Students in Melos meet once a week after to school to rehearse with the light supervision of Mr. Stiles. They practice independently and occasionally Stiles will give his opinion.

“[Orchestra] is a lot of fun; being in Chamber is really great because he goes more in depth with the music… and we do things with a lot more precision,” Do said.

Stiles taught for three years in Rochester, New York before coming to Leesville. He attended school in New York at Syracuse University. Stiles can play many instruments (his major is cello) but can play just about anything with strings.

For orchestras upcoming concert, they’re planning a variety of genres. From Irish music to the more well know “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin, there will be something for everyone.

Patrick Carawan, junior, has been playing the viola for five years. Carawan has been a part of the orchestra since his freshman year — this will be his first year in Chamber Orchestra.

“We’re working on some rock music, which is pretty cool. We’ve got Led Zeppelin, and then we’re doing some rock versions of Beethoven,” said Carawan.

With the large variety of music being played, the concert is sure to be enjoyed by all.

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