125 from Westside may play at All-City

       About 125 students from the nine Westside District 11 elementary schools are expected to participate in the All-City Orchestra performance Saturday, Feb. 19 at Doherty High School.
       Depending on turnouts from other schools, as many as 900 fourth- and fifth-grade string musicians district-wide could wind up playing, according to Linda Johnson, who teaches strings at Ivywild and Howbert schools.
       The performance is open to any district students in those age levels who are taking orchestra (string instrument) classes in school. “That's really our mentality about the whole thing,” said Robbie Holbein, who teaches orchestra and band at Pike and Washington schools. “It's not an honor orchestra. We want kids to go and get the experience of playing in a huge orchestra. Usually, in classes, we only have 10 or 12 at a time.”
       According to Ed Deepe, who teaches strings at Bristol, Midland and Whittier, the All-City Orchestra is only scheduled every two years “because it's such a large event.”
       District-wide, orchestra teachers coordinate for the occasion. “We passed out the music after Christmas break,” Deepe said. “So they're all practicing the same things.”
       The performances will be separated into two levels of ability: beginning (typically, the fourth-graders) and advanced (fifth- graders).
       The musicians will perform in the Doherty gym. Doherty was chosen because it has one of the district's largest gyms and parking areas, Deepe said.
       For the event, the music teachers not only have to get their charges ready - everyone practices together for the first and only time that morning - they have to bring in and set out 800 to 900 folding chairs and music stands.
       “It's usually a science to get all the students in and find them a place to play,” Holbein said. “But they get a kick out of it. They can't believe the sound they make.”

Westside Pioneer article