Avon Grove students showcase talent in Winter Strings Festival

Avon Grove orchestra students perform at the annual Strings Festival.

On Wednesday, January 31, Avon Grove School District (AGSD) hosted its annual Strings Festival, a districtwide orchestra event with musical performances from students in grades five to twelve.

The concert, in its sixth year, provides a unique opportunity to bring together students from three schools in the district: Avon Grove Intermediate School (AGIS), Avon Grove Middle School (AGMS) and Avon Grove High School (AGHS).

“This is always one of my favorite concerts of the year,” shared Krista Umile, orchestra director for the high school. “Not only does it give the students an opportunity to hear each other and support each other, but they also get the opportunity to see how far they will go as they progress through the high-quality string program we have in AGSD.”

Having students from the three schools collaborate is a valued part of the string program at Avon Grove. Throughout the year, the students come together to practice and prepare for the concert. Their efforts culminate in the String Festival, a celebration of their hard work and incredible talent.

“Young players get the chance to play in the same concert as students graduating high school, so they see where their music education will take them. Older students have an opportunity to give back to the program and sow seeds for the next generation of orchestra,” said Brian Lynch, orchestra director at Avon Grove Middle School.

This year’s concert featured an impressive 160 students, the most to date for the annual event, and began with the AGIS fifth grade orchestra performing two selections under the direction of Orchestra Director Emily Lucas, “Russian Music Box” by Soon Hee Newbold and “Snow Day!” by Katie O’Hara LaBrie.

The program continued with the middle school orchestra performing “Seven Nation Army” by Jack White. Lynch described the enthusiasm he saw in his students. “The music was great, but the most important thing I saw was the joy and excitement,” he said.

Following the middle school performance, the high school students had the opportunity to display the skills they learned over their many years in the program. Under the direction of Umile, the students performed John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s “Eleanor Rigby.”

The night concluded with an energetic combined piece with all three orchestras performing “High Hopes” by Panic! at the Disco. The enthusiasm from the audience, students and staff emphasized the importance and power of the performing arts in Avon Grove.

Umile expressed her gratitude for the support of the community and the district. “The arts give us all a chance to be together and celebrate not just the music we play, but each other.”

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