Making music through the cold

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Making music through the cold

This is the program for the most recent SEISTA concert this year.

This is the program for the most recent SEISTA concert this year.

Photo credit to Jeanelle Cho

This is the program for the most recent SEISTA concert this year.

Photo credit to Jeanelle Cho

Photo credit to Jeanelle Cho

This is the program for the most recent SEISTA concert this year.

Jeanelle Cho, Copy Editor

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In the midst of a bitter winter, Pleasant Valley Orchestra is staying active through many different learning opportunities, such as Southeastern Iowa String Teachers Association (SEISTA), which took place on Jan. 12.

SEISTA is an honors orchestra made up of a select group of students. These students have been nominated by teachers and have been chosen through a paper ballot. The orchestra itself was created by Iowa’s orchestra company. Pleasant Valley’s orchestra director, Robert Swinney, is a member of this committee. Through his involvement, students from PV are able to participate in honors orchestras such as SEISTA.

At SEISTA, students all over Southeastern Iowa joined as one orchestra to give a performance. This year, seven students from the Pleasant Valley High School Orchestra were chosen to participate.

Emily Preston, a senior cellist, participated in her third year of SEISTA this past January. She said, “Having various conductors, music, and playing with different musicians makes each year exciting and different from the rest.”

This year, the honors orchestra consisted of string players from 15 different schools throughout Southeastern Iowa. Conducted by Ray Ostwald, the orchestra had the opportunity to play songs by Edvard Grieg, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Gustav Holst.

Learning opportunities, such as honor orchestras, have helped PV string players, such as junior Maddie Anthony, to grow as musicians. “I learned more about balance within an ensemble and gained confidence in playing. I am so grateful that I was given the opportunity to be there.”

Anthony, who was a second chair violinist at SEISTA, will also be heading to the state level honors orchestra with two other members of the PV orchestra this May. Opportunities like SEISTA have helped open doors to many opportunities to Anthony. “It helped me become a better violinist,” she added.

Students say participating in SEISTA has helped spark growth. Preston stated, “Each year is always a learning experience for me. My main takeaway is the importance of connecting with the music. This always helps me to enjoy the music I play and remember it’s melody after the final concert.”

Anthony has similar experiences. “I gained so much confidence in my playing. I am so grateful that I was given the opportunity to be there. It truly made me a better violinist,” she said.