Music at the Middle School


Here is a picture of an adult band and an orchestra playing together in a concert.

Peyton Chanley, Contributor

“A band is not proud because it performs well; it performs well because it is proud.” -George Parks. School bands are the groups that you might see playing at football games and such. You might’ve seen or heard about the big Emporia Orchestra Concert that happens at the end of the year every year. Music plays a big part in middle schools, high schools, and even elementary schools. As some of my other stories I’ve written have pointed out, music plays a big part in society. But today I’m specifically talking about the orchestra and band at the Emporia Middle School. But first, do we know what an orchestra even is? 

A string orchestra is a large instrumental ensemble that will typically play classical music. There are four different instruments in the orchestra at schools such as the double bass, cello, viola, and violin. Not only is being in orchestra fun for the player but many people enjoy going to orchestra concerts, really that is the purpose of the orchestra; to play music and perform for enjoyment. That is what school orchestras do, they practice and practice and practice for their concerts. School orchestras normally have 1-3 concerts and then a big one at the end of the year. School orchestras are very fun to be in. Did you know that some string orchestras also have harps but the majority of school orchestras do not have a harp player, probably due to the fact that they are expensive and very hard to carry around. Now here’s another question, what exactly is band? 

School bands are like string orchestras in the way that they are an instrumental ensemble with different instruments. The clarinet, trumpet, saxophone, flute, trombone, french horn, and oboe are a few of the instruments that are in band. There are a few more instruments in band such as drums and such but I wouldn’t want to bore you with a long list. School bands play at school assemblies and will play at sporting events. There are marching bands, which are bands that are dedicated to pumping up the sport spirit on the football field. Marching bands are both for musical and visible performances towards the crowds. Most people in marching bands will have a specific uniform and a routine. So if you like being the center of attention and music I would suggest joining the school’s band. 

I went and interviewed one student about band and one student about orchestra and both students had very positive responses towards the questions. Landree Kinsey, a clarinetist, said that, “I joined band because it sounded fun and was something new and I wanted to try it out and see if I liked it, and I did!”. She also said this about her band class, “Our band class is like a family, we disagree, we laugh, we cry, we smile, we stress, but we’re always there for each other and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”. She also suggested that you should try out for band and who knows maybe you’ll like it and stay. Her final words about band were, “The band teacher is also a very supportive, caring, kind, amazing teacher and will help you through anything.”. I then went and talked to Linus Lingenfelter, a violist, about some similar questions that I asked Landree, only about orchestra. When asked about why he joined the orchestra he said that his parents made him join it and he grew to love it. He also said, “Orchestra is a very fun class and the people and the teachers are just great people to be around.”. He encourages other people to join the orchestra because we always need more players. 

I asked the band (Mr. Perkins) and orchestra (Mr Day) teachers about their classes. I first asked Mr Day about why he became the orchestra teacher and this is what he said, “I love music. It is the most important part of my life. Growing up I thought PLAYING music for other people was the best way to be happy. But as I got older, I realized that music was not designed just for me to be enjoyed. It is a gift that is continuously passed down and ties humanity together. It ties me to the tens of thousands of years of humanity before me and (hopefully) the eternity of humans to come. Music became something more than a fun sensation, it was a responsibility. Knowing that, I chose to be a teacher so that the time-honored tradition that was given to me is equally available to those younger than me. They deserve it just as much as I did and it belongs to ANYONE who wants it.”. He also said that, Being in an orchestra is like being one tube of oil paint. There are many tubes of paint like you, but you are the only tube that contains YOUR color. Sometimes you mix with other paints to get a new color, sometimes your color isn’t used in a portion of the painting, but without you, the painting would be dull, less vibrant, and boring. Only by combining multiple instruments do you get a symphony.

I also enjoy being in an orchestra because you get to experience the feelings that the composer felt when they wrote the piece. The love, hate, joy, sadness, etc. is captured in the music and being a part of it allows me to look at the world  through the lens of another person. It’s a beautiful thing!”. When asked about what his favorite thing about orchestra was he said, “The best part of being in an orchestra is the deep connection you experience with the other musicians. When everything is going perfectly and all the players are pouring their emotions into the piece it feels like a warm blanket of sound wrapping around you giving you a hug.”. His final message was, “I want my orchestra kids to know that I love them and getting to play music with them is the ultimate joy in my life.”. 

I then went and emailed Mr Perkins, and I first asked him why he became a teacher and he said, “Band was always the class I felt I could truly relax and be myself, and I want to give students an opportunity to discover themselves through music and make some amazing friends along the way.” He also said that, “Band is truly like being in a family that challenges us as much as it awards us for our work.” The best part of band according to him is, “Watching students work, drawing connections, getting better at their instrument, all while we’re having a blast!”. He also said that the worst part was, “Watching students give up too easily without truly applying themselves, despite encouragement from me and their peers.”. His final message was “Band is a class that attracts so many various types of people, gathering in the name of our love and passion for music. It’s a beautiful thing!”. 

As you can see the orchestra and the band at the Emporia Middle School are really good activities to engage in. Music has played a big part in schools, making assemblies exciting and fun. There are even after school clubs for students to practice their instruments. Email to Mr Day about joining the Emporia Middle School Orchestra ([email protected]). And talk to Mr Perkins about joining Emporia Middle School Band ([email protected]).