If Bell Middle School’s orchestra students could describe their next performance in three words, those words would be: fun, intense and exciting.
Fun, because that’s a given, said Ashlie Polvogt, 14, an eighth grader who plays the violin in …
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Fun, because that’s a given, said Ashlie Polvogt, 14, an eighth grader who plays the violin in the orchestra.
“Intense, because we’ve been working really hard,” Polvogt continued. “And exciting because it’s an honor to be selected to perform.”
The orchestra is performing Jan. 28 at the Colorado Music Educators Association’s 2017 conference — also known as the State Music Convention — at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs.
“It’s a pretty big deal,” said Barbara Casanova, the orchestra director at Bell Middle School and area elementary schools. “The kids feel very proud to be a part of this.”
Out of 117 musical groups from across the state, only five were chosen to perform at the convention — two middle schools and three high schools.
Joining Bell is Lesher Middle School of Fort Collins, Coronado High School of Colorado Springs, Silver Creek High School of Longmont and Highlands Ranch High School.
“This is high stakes,” said Clay Stoltenberg, 13, who plays the cello. And his sister Caroline, 11, who plays bass and cello added, “It’s a once-or-twice in a lifetime thing.”
Bell’s orchestra consists of 65 students playing one of four instruments: violin, viola, cello and string bass. All 65 students will perform at the convention.
This is the first time for Bell’s orchestra to ever perform at the convention, Casanova said, but the concert band made it in 30 years ago. It has been four years since any Jefferson County school has been selected to perform at the convention.
But “Bell deserves this,” said Gage Gun, 14, a violinist. “We have a really great teacher. She (Casanova) pushes us to be the best that we can be.”
Sam Ryan, a sixth-grader who, along with his older brother Max, 14, also plays the violin is thankful for the opportunity and credits the students who are now freshmen in high school.
The audition tape was sent in last May, so if weren’t for the students who preceded the sixth-graders, the brothers said, the current orchestra wouldn’t have been selected.
“It’s a really big honor,” Sam Ryan said, who added the convention will be his first big performance outside of concerts that are attended mostly by parents and peers.
Cellist McKenzie Gallagher, 14, is hoping to have a career in music, so she is especially excited to perform in front of so many people, she said.
“It’s nervous excitement,” added Nicole Samuelson, 13, who plays the viola. “But I’m expecting us to do really well.”
Bell’s orchestra will have a 30-minute set, Casanova said. And the orchestra rehearses together every day for about an hour at school, not including each individual student practicing at home.
“They’re very prepared,” Casanova said. “They’ve been working on the music since school started this year.”
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