West students participate in Quad Cities Youth Symphony Orchestra

Hanna Seago, Reporter

Four students from West have been chosen to play in a selective music ensemble.The Quad City Youth Symphony Orchestra is an auditioned group of school-aged musicians that consists of almost 100 members. It is the most advanced school-level ensemble in the Quad Cities.

Sophomores Turner Sperry and Bailey Jones and seniors Chane Eckhardt and Trystan Essex are the four students who were selected from a group of musicians that auditioned for conductor Benjamin Klemme. The students accepted were then assigned a specific chair in the ensemble. This determines what part of the orchestra they will play in.

“I’m second chair in the cello section, which means that I am the second-best cello player in the ensemble. This is my second year participating and last year I was first chair in the cello section,” Sperry explained.

Four other youth ensembles are available with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, including three orchestras and one choir. Three West students are participating in the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, an intermediate orchestra meant to prepare young musicians for the Youth Symphony Orchestra. Freshman Matt Reis and sophomores Michael Hill and Michaela Sperry are participants in the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra.

“Playing in the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra is definitely easier than being in the symphony orchestra, so it allows for me to focus a bit more on the music,” Hill stated.

Schools within the Davenport Community School district do not offer an option for musicians to participate in the symphony orchestra, so the Quad City Orchestra helps to provide that option for musicians.

“Participating in the ensembles allows for students to prepare themselves for future musical opportunities, as well as giving students a chance to perform in an actual symphony orchestra,” West band director Mark Kretschmer explained. “It is certainly different from the school band and orchestra. It is a different outlet and opportunity, since West can’t provide students with a symphony orchestra that includes percussion due to scheduling conflicts. It allows for students to have a chance to play older, more classical music in contrast to the peppier, popular music that the school band plays,” Kretschmer said.

The symphony orchestra also allows for musicians to play more challenging music than the pieces they play in school and allows for the musicians to meet other students who are equally as musically inclined.

“The music is definitely a lot harder in the symphony and kids all have a lot of dedication to the group,” Jones explained. Jones is a violinist that is seventh chair in the symphony orchestra.

The Quad City Youth Symphony Orchestra will perform at the Quad City Symphony Youth Ensembles’ Fall Festival on Sunday, Nov. 12 at 3:00 p.m. at Centennial Hall in Rock Island.