Woodgrove’s Symphony Stirs up Music Around Town

Mrs. Oakley warms up the Symphonic Orchestra with scales. Photo provided by
Mrs. Oakley warms up the Symphonic Orchestra with scales. Photo provided by
William Den Herder

As the winter season approaches, the music departments are up to their knees in rehearsals and music. The Woodgrove Symphony is preparing two traditional pieces, Sleigh Ride and Christmas Festival, songs that are played annually at the winter concert. The symphony tour is a two-day venture to all of the elementary schools that feed into Woodgrove. The purpose of the tour is to showcase each section of instruments and show how the instruments blend to create harmonies, melodies, and rhythms. The ultimate goal is to encourage younger students to explore music early, and then join the music program once in middle school and high school.

The Woodgrove Symphony will be leaving for three blocks on December 11th to see Waterford Elementary and Round Hill Elementary. Also, on the 12th to visit Mountain View Elementary, Lovettsville Elementary, and Kenneth Culbert. On December 15th, the symphony will travel to Harmony Middle School. The Woodgrove choir will join the symphony at Harmony and showcase their winter selection. This is also a great experience for younger students at Woodgrove to play with the higher orchestra and band.

Map of feeder schools that the Woodgrove Symphony will visit on December 11th and 12th. Photo provided by Mya Haines.

Over one hundred students from the band and orchestra programs gather together to play these fun tunes, and the full symphony consists of over seventy different instruments. From the bassoon to the violin, the Woodgrove Symphony lets students express themselves through creativity and music. Senior Lily McBride has played the harp since fifth grade. McBride explains, “The harp is unique because not many orchestras have one, and I can bring more strength to empty spaces and elevate sections like the violins and cellos.” Nate Domine, who is also a senior, has played trumpet for six years and he is most excited for the horse whinny in Sleigh Ride. “It’s a tradition that has been passed down each year for the first trumpet to wear a horse head and play the whinny at the end,” states Domine.

Mrs. Samantha Oakley and Mr. Ryan Dempsey are conductors of the Symphony, as well as teachers for the instrumental programs at Woodgrove. Mrs. Oakley says, “for every one minute of performance time, there’s one hour of rehearsal time.” Not only are the students preparing traditional pieces, but the music departments are also starting to learn music for assessments. Every year in the early spring, band, orchestra, and choir separately perform for judges. Each group will receive a grade: one, two, or three. A “one” is a superior rating, and if all three departments receive a superior rating, the school is awarded with a Blue Ribbon. Woodgrove has been awarded the Blue Ribbon two years in a row. The music programs are preparing to earn another one this year.

Come out and support the orchestra and band at their winter concert on December 17th, at  7pm. From the recognizable melody of Sleigh Ride to the bombastic fanfare of Christmas Festival, the dynamics are set to be wild!

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