Orchestra hosts fellow student musicians from Arkansas

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Orchestra hosts fellow student musicians from Arkansas

Redhawk orchestra students sit on stage in the auditorium along with orchestra students from Conway High School in Conway, AR. Conway director prepares to conduct the combined orchestra as campus orchestra director Julie Blackstock looks on.

Redhawk orchestra students sit on stage in the auditorium along with orchestra students from Conway High School in Conway, AR. Conway director prepares to conduct the combined orchestra as campus orchestra director Julie Blackstock looks on.

Lucas Barr

Redhawk orchestra students sit on stage in the auditorium along with orchestra students from Conway High School in Conway, AR. Conway director prepares to conduct the combined orchestra as campus orchestra director Julie Blackstock looks on.

Lucas Barr

Lucas Barr

Redhawk orchestra students sit on stage in the auditorium along with orchestra students from Conway High School in Conway, AR. Conway director prepares to conduct the combined orchestra as campus orchestra director Julie Blackstock looks on.

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Playing host and serving lunch, the top two orchestras welcomed dozens of students from the orchestra program from Conway High School in Conway, AR to campus on Friday. One of the first stops on their spring trip through Texas, Conway students had the chance to mingle with Redhawks over pasta and salad before sight reading concert music on stage for an hour.

Ms. Blackstock (orchestra director) was a clinician for their region about two years ago, so Ms. B and the Conway director stayed in touch, and he tried to figure how to make it work so that they could visit on their spring trip to Dallas,” assistant director Victoria Lien said. “Symphonic had a chance to play some of their UIL music with the group, and Camerata sight read their whole program, which is awesome.”

They played the music really well, I think they’re really talented musicians. It was really nice to bond over musicality and funny mistakes.”

— junior, violist Giorgia Mastrolorenzo

Interacting with the Conway orchestra put the school’s orchestra program, one of ten high school orchestras in the district, into perspective for junior Giorgia Mastrolorenzo as Conway is just one of fifteen public school orchestra programs in Arkansas.

“They played the music really well, I think they’re really talented musicians,” Mastrolorenzo said. “It was really nice to bond over musicality and funny mistakes. I appreciate definitely how we have different levels so everyone is placed where they can succeed the most and have individualized attention and definitely how we’re all not just grouped together so that we don’t get lost.”

After sharing food and performing, students built lasting connections with fellow musicians they plan to continue long beyond Friday.

“We got them lots of like fake Italian food and lots of cookies, just good Texan hospitality,” Mastrolorenzo said. “We should do this way more often, I don’t want them to leave; it was so refreshing. I met some people that we exchange contact info and so excited for the future.”

Music is one of those universal things that everyone has in common, and the fact that they’re playing similar music or they’re experiencing maybe similar upbringings in their orchestra program gives them a conversation starter to go from there.

— assistant orchestra director Lien

The campus served as the first stop of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex for Conway students, making music with fellow students before going to hear the Dallas Symphony Orchestra perform Friday night.

“It was really cool to connect with other orchestra students here at Liberty,” Conway student Lydia Quinn said. “It was really fun to sight read, doing it with Liberty students really helped me connect me with music that I had never played before.”

Lien attributes the sense of community shared between the two schools to one thing, a love of music.

“The first thing you can always ask is ‘what do you play?’ and ‘what’s your favorite kind of music?’,” Lien said. “Music is one of those universal things that everyone has in common, and the fact that they’re playing similar music or they’re experiencing maybe similar upbringings in their orchestra program gives them a conversation starter to go from there.”