Orchestra seniors yearn to practice just one more time with fellow musicians

May 11, 2020

If it weren’t for a pandemic, the orchestra would be performing in its final concert of the year. A grand send-off for its seniors who have dedicated so much to the program. 

Assistant concertmaster and senior Kathryn Ackerman was sad to see that opportunity taken away. 

“I didn’t really process everything in the moment, but I feel like as time has gone on, it has kind of made me realize just how much we’ve missed out on,” Ackerman said. “Being in orchestra is almost like a sport for me since I’ve done it since fourth grade. To not have closure on our final concert was disappointing because we don’t get to play that last senior song and have all the recognition.”

Concertmaster and senior Luke LaMere shared similar sentiments and expressed how difficult it has been to continue practicing without his fellow musicians. 

“Practicing together is just something you can’t replicate over a zoom call,” LaMere said. “You just have to be there in person to fully experience it, so it’s been hard to get over that. I think we’re all doing the best we can practicing on our own and trying to stay in touch.” 

Although there have been serious setbacks for the orchestra, the two leaders believe there is good still to come and are hopeful to get back together with their musicians once the pandemic has receded. 

Both Ackerman and LaMere had encouraging words for next year’s leaders and fellow seniors alike. 

“Don’t take anything for granted especially because we’re lucky at Grand Haven to have the opportunity to be involved in all these fine arts programs,” Ackerman said. “A lot of schools don’t have an orchestra, so I think just enjoying the time you have together in class is important because after this year I won’t be able to see my class again.” 

LaMere’s biggest piece of advice to the incoming leaders it that they always listen to music. A habit he says he’ll carry with him into college. 

“Never stop listening to music,” LaMere said. “You can always keep practicing and improving your own technique but I think what’s really important is to keep listening to the Greats of music. Try to take in the styles of the leaders in different orchestras because I think it’s really important to understand how they play and see how you can incorporate that into your own playing.”

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