KHS Orchestra Staying in Shape

KHS+Orchestra+finds+a+way+to+continue+their+tradition+of+summer+help+sessions+despite+the+pandemic

KHS Orchestra finds a way to continue their tradition of summer help sessions despite the pandemic

Alexis Pubentz

Although the 2019-2020 school year has come to a close, KHS Orchestra students continue to build their technique throughout the summer with Zoom help sessions. These sessions focus on helping students learn and practice the music that they will use to audition for UIL Region Orchestra and All-State Orchestra in the early fall. The sessions provide an opportunity for orchestra students to continue their practicing with others over the summer much like an “Orchestra Strength and Conditioning” Camp (Hale). According to the KHS Orchestra Head Director, Elisabeth Hale, summer sessions have been a “long-standing Kingwood tradition” that helps students to continue to grow musically in their technique. Despite these past several months bringing challenges to the orchestra in terms of preventing them from being able to practice in large groups, this tradition was able to continue through Zoom. Although the Zoom platform can be more challenging for playing, it has brought several benefits, such as giving students the opportunity to participate from wherever, helping to give more students who are unable to get to the highschool the chance to join. Zoom has also provided several tools such as screen share and annotation that have been beneficial to both the students and directors. Though it would have been easier to take the summer off from practicing music, KHS Orchestra has been able to continue their practicing together. This continued practice benefits students in more ways than just helping them to master the rigorous, collegiate-level etudes for the Region and All-State auditions. Continued practice helps students to “foster technical and musical growth” as well as “strengthen [their] musical abilities” (Hale). Over 80 students were able to take advantage of these sessions and continue to learn, practice, and grow, despite the challenging circumstances of this summer. Thanks to a different platform, amazing directors, and hard working students, the KHS Orchestra was able to continue their tradition of fostering musical excellence, even during a summer is anything but normal.