Orchestra teachers throughout APS hosted the second annual String Fling on Thursday (May 13) at Grady High. This event was an excellent performance opportunity for all of the district’s orchestra students to celebrate their talent and play in a large ensemble comprised of elementary, middle and high schools. About 200 students performed, according to Erik Herndon, orchestra teacher at Young Middle School.
The program began with selections for the elementary orchestra programs, and were conducted by Centennial Place Elementary‘s director of orchestras and Suzuki Strings Carole Kane and accompanied by Brandon Elementary Orchestra Director Carol Barach. (Kane also teaches at Boyd and Hutchinson elementary schools, while Barach also teaches at Warren T. Jackson, Garden Hills, Brandon and Smith elementary schools.)
“I believe that it is important for children across our district to experience the gift of music with their peers from other schools and for our students and teachers to collaborate meaningfully to strengthen the quality of our orchestra programs in Atlanta Public Schools,” Herndon (pictured above) told the audience. “In addition to the String Fling, each year Atlanta Public Schools also offers an ongoing honors group called the Atlanta Public Schools Youth Orchestra, led by Natalie Colbert (of Sutton Middle) and Reginald Colbert (of North Atlanta High). This group meets on Monday nights and is a full orchestra. Auditions will be held at the start of next school year.” Herndon was also especially appreciative of Atlanta Public Schools keeping the orchestra programs alive during such challening economic times. Herndon then conducted the middle-school selection, “Moonlight Tango.”
Herndon noted that when he began conceptualizing the String Fling last year with Lyn Farnham and Carol Barach, he believed in the need for students from all levels to play together. “More experienced students from high school and middle school were asked to learn, and in some cases sight read, our elementary selections, to model appropriate tone, posture, and intonation for our younger players,” Herndon said, before acknowledging the students, parents, APS Superintendent Dr. Beverly L. Hall, the Atlanta Board of Education, host Grady High, and Cynthia Terry, Program Coordinator for Fine Arts. And, of course, the district’s string teachers.
Herndon personally thanked Carole Kane for coordinating the elementary schools this year and working very hard to make the event possible. Grady High’s Sergio Rodriguez then conducted Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” and the Bond Girls’ “Explosive.”