An orchestra concert to remember


Photo taken by Ilwoo Cho

The orchestra seniors with their teacher Robert Swinney.

Jeanelle Cho, Copy Editor

Photo taken by Mahum Haque
The caricature drawing Robert Swinney made for senior Mahum Haque.

The Pleasant Valley orchestra recently held their last concert of the year in the PVHS auditorium. This concert was an important one for the orchestra–especially the seniors–because not only did this concert celebrate and recognize all the achievements the orchestra had, but it also honored the seniors as well.

For the concert, the orchestra played four songs. The first song, “Overture to the Wind”, was a meaningful song for orchestra director Robert Swinney. As he stated at the concert, “[This song] was written by my orchestra director for my senior concert. This song has a lot of significance to me and so I wanted to share it with [my students].”

The second and third songs played–“Jump Jive An’ Wail” and “Star Wars”–were played as a full orchestra. The full orchestra includes all the members of the string orchestra as well as some of the members of the PV band.

At this concert, awards were also presented to many PVHS orchestra members. Throughout the year, orchestra students were able to accumulate points. These points were awarded each time students participated in orchestral events and extracurricular orchestra activities. If students earned a certain number of points, they received a felt letter board and a pin.

Other awards presented included certificates to the students who participated in the 2018 All State Orchestra and ribbons to those who received a Division I rating at Solo/Ensemble Festival. Each student who received an award was called up to a podium and was handed an envelope with their awards by Swinney.

Other than awards, other achievements this concert highlighted were the ones made by the seniors. The ten orchestra seniors were called up to the front of the stage and shared their favorite orchestra memories as well as what their plans were after high school

Senior viola player Mahum Haque expressed her feelings after the concert ended. “It was bittersweet, but I liked this last concert especially because it focused more on the seniors,” Haque stated. “I enjoyed hearing about what other people in my grade were doing after high school as well as hearing all their memories.”

After sharing their favorite memories, Swinney presented caricature drawings to each of the seniors. These caricatures were hand drawn by Swinney, and they depicted each senior with their instruments. As these caricatures were given, Swinney shared his favorite memory he had with each of the students.

For their final song, the orchestra played “The Incredibles” with the eighth graders from the PV junior high orchestra. Swinney explained the importance of playing with the eighth graders. “This is a good experience for [the high school] orchestra as well as the eighth graders because this is a chance for them to get a taste of what orchestra will be like next year,” Swinney said.

Finally, to close the concert, the seniors surprised Swinney with one last gift: blue flowers and candy. This gift was a gesture made by all the seniors to thank Swinney for the past four years. While the seniors may all go their separate paths next year, the memories they have made in orchestra will always be with them.