Memories and Major Events in the Strings Department 2016-2017 School Year


Photo courtesy of Leah Winters

(L-R) Strings sophomore Hayley Huber, Miajoy Daorerk, strings director Wendell Simmons, and strings sophomore Leah Winters pose in front of The Bean at Chicago.

Nearing the end of the school year, many students reflect upon the timeless memories made throughout the year. Students from the strings department have made many memories from out-of-state trips to the multitude of concerts held throughout the year.

Strings Chicago Trip
While many students enjoyed the sunny weather during spring break, strings students flew to Chicago, huddled in heavy coats as snow piled on the grounds. Preceding the Chicago trip, the strings department held several fundraisers in hopes to travel beyond Florida to observe famous orchestra performances and experience well-known tourist attractions. From March 17 to 21, the strings department students were at Chicago.
“My favorite memory from the Chicago trip was hanging out with my friends,” strings sophomore Leah Winters said. “While we did a lot of amazing and memorable things, being able to share that experience with my friends really made the trip amazing.”
For many students, Chicago was their first experience with snow. Between snowball fights and enjoying the cold weather, the students were able to explore the city and experience the local cultures in Chicago. Not only did they perform in a prominent concert hall, students went to watch Chicago Symphony perform. With a free day to explore, students went to the eminent tourist attraction, The Bean, for a few pictures, and traveled to the Skydeck building found in the former Sears Tower for a panoramic view of the city. Towards the end of the trip, students returned home with numerous memories to share with  their friends and family.

Ebony Chorale’s 25th Anniversary Gala Concert

Select students from the strings department performed at the annual Ebony Chorale’s 25th Anniversary Gala Concert which featured several music groups including singers and musicians. The goal of the event was to strive for unity and the embracement of individual and ethnic heritages. Dreyfoos students performed alongside several music groups on May 28 at Bak Middle School of the Arts.

Along with the positive message put forth by the gala, musicians were able to perform with their peers. Twenty-five students performed at this event composed of violins, violas, cellos, basses, and harps. To prepare for the concert, students hosted afterschool and weekend rehearsals. This opportunity provided a time in which students could collaborate with their friends. Memories of the event and the valuable message of the annual gala would be carried into following years.

Philharmonic and Strings Concerts

Throughout the year, the strings department held many concerts that featured seasonal music. Annually, strings director Wendell Simmons conducts a series of auditions for the Philharmonic Orchestra. Selected students who are accepted into the Philharmonic students perform alongside band students. The strings orchestra encompasses a variety of string instruments from violin to cellos.

“We work really hard [for concerts] because of the short time to prepare,” strings freshman Quinn Stolberg said. “There were a couple times we were discouraged because of the short timeframe to prepare, but we were able to shake it off and get it done. What really matters is that we got it done and always perform to the best of our capabilities.”

Directed by Simmons, students performed at several concerts at Meyer Hall for friends, family, and teachers. In preparation for the concerts, many students dedicated long hours to after school and lunch rehearsals. Despite the long hours spent, students enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate and perform with their peers.Jennifer Jia