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The music never stops

No+CCHS+drama+production+would+be+complete+without+the+orchestra%2C+as+with+the+%E2%80%9CBye+Bye+Birdie%E2%80%9D+production+from+2016+where+select+CCHS+musicians%2C+including+Kat+McConville%2C+contributed+to+the+lively+sounds+from+the+%E2%80%9Cpit%E2%80%9D+that+accompanied+the+musical.
No CCHS drama production would be complete without the orchestra, as with the “Bye Bye Birdie” production from 2016 where select CCHS musicians, including Kat McConville, contributed to the lively sounds from the “pit” that accompanied the musical.

No CCHS drama production would be complete without the orchestra, as with the “Bye Bye Birdie” production from 2016 where select CCHS musicians, including Kat McConville, contributed to the lively sounds from the “pit” that accompanied the musical.

Mrs. Kathy McConville

Mrs. Kathy McConville

No CCHS drama production would be complete without the orchestra, as with the “Bye Bye Birdie” production from 2016 where select CCHS musicians, including Kat McConville, contributed to the lively sounds from the “pit” that accompanied the musical.

Kelsey Bacinett, Editor-in-Chief

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For Cathedral Catholic High School student musician Kat McConville ‘17, music is not just about slipping on her headphones every so often, but it is a way of life.

“My life would not be the same without music,” McConville said. “Playing the violin has provided me with many amazing opportunities that I would not have had otherwise.”

As a way to showcase their talents and keep their blood flowing, McConville and other CCHS student musicians join professional musicians in the school orchestra during CCHS drama productions. However, that arrangement is giving way to a new paradigm as the school is transitioning the program with hopes of growing the CCHS music department in order to fill the entire pit with student musicians, according to CCHS administration.

McConville knows the benefits of music all too well.

“It has been nice to be able to play for the productions and learn by sitting in with the professional players,” McConville said. “I feel so blessed to be a part of the beginning development of an orchestra at Cathedral and hope that it continues to grow and develop.”

CCHS students first sat alongside professional musicians in a mentoring environment three years ago during the production of “Hello Dolly,” and it has continued with the most recent productions.

“‘The Secret Garden’ production this year was the first time since my arrival at CCHS that the student performers outnumbered the professionals, and significantly so,” CCHS Director of Music and VAPA Department Chair Ms. Jessica Swift said. “The second musical this year, Cole Porter’s ‘Anything Goes,’ was more of a jazz big band setup and featured many of our advanced band students, who again, outnumbered the pros.

“Needless to say, this year has marked a significant turning point. What has always been so special to witness is the mentorship that occurs between the professional and student performers. For the students, this immersion into a professional level production is ‘baptism by fire’ and is an incredible learning experience.”

On the brink of transition for the CCHS music program, the changing orchestra at CCHS strives in giving more live performing opportunity to its students outside of the music classroom.

“Now, it will be a relatively slow process to convert the orchestra to be completely students, but having experienced mentors on their respective instruments has been inspiring and educational to many if not all the students involved this year,” CCHS student musician Robert Goodwin ‘17, who plays many instruments including the clarinet and percussions, said. “It will take time, but I believe it will happen and when it does then the program will truly have flourished. Who knows?

“Some day we may even have too many musicians wanting to be a part of the musicals.”

With a student-run orchestra comes several benefits.

“On a practical level, it saves money, which allows us to redirect funds toward other educational avenues within our department,” Ms. Swift said. “More importantly, it creates opportunities for our very capable CCHS Dons to learn, to grow, and to contribute their talents to and within the community.”

Additionally, another reason for transitioning the CCHS orchestra lies in sharing student’s zest for music with the community.

“Much like how a football game highlights the skill and hard work put into our athletes, I believe an all-student orchestra will help to showcase that physical ability is not all our students are able to excel at,” Goodwin said.

Goodwin anticipates a time when the CCHS music department will fill an orchestra to the brim with student musicians who all wish to share their common passion with the CCHS community.

“Sharing each other’s talents to empower the show in its entirety is why I have stayed in music throughout school so long; music is something to be shared with others, something meant for all the world to hear,” Goodwin said. “I am involved in the program here at CCHS and with many of the aspiring new musicians because I can only hope they get out of the experience as much joy, pride, and fulfillment that I have.

With the genuine passion for music students such as Goodwin and McConville exemplify, the CCHS music program’s future looks promising.

“The instrumentalists love the challenge of the music and the chance to work together on something so much bigger than themselves,” Ms. Swift said. “Their joy and collaborative energy is contagiously inspirational.”

 

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The School Newspaper of Cathedral Catholic High School
The music never stops