Local Students Selected to Perform in Northeast Ohio Regional Orchestra
By Nicole Rhoades, Brunswick BEAT Reporter
BRUNSWICK, Ohio-Playing any instrument takes a high degree of dedication, but string instruments especially demand a lot of practice. Bow technique is difficult to grasp, and strings require an ear for intonation. Imagine how Grace Shank feels—she has been playing cello for eleven years now! Grace is one of four talented Brunswick orchestra students who were chosen to participate in the Northeast Ohio Regional Orchestra. Candice Wroten, Kevin O’Connor, and Logan Whitcomb are also in orchestra.
“Northeast Ohio Regional Orchestra is put on by OMEA—that is, the Ohio Music Education Association—to give students in the Northeast region a chance to play together,” explains Valerie Roman, the conductor at Brunswick High School. “Students auditioned from Strongsville, Westlake, Lakewood… all over this area! There are multiple regional orchestras throughout the state. Each orchestra is a full orchestra, including wind and percussion players. This makes it a great opportunity for Brunswick students, because we don’t have that full orchestra experience. So it is a great experience to play challenging music and within a different ensemble.”
“It’s pretty much for any high schoolers in Northeast Ohio. You get to try out, and if you make it you perform in a youth orchestra for a weekend.” Kevin O’Connor sums it up after explaining that he has been involved as a violinist in the orchestra for the past three years.
This audition-only orchestra is a high honor for talented orchestra students. This year is remarkable, because more Brunswick students have auditioned than ever before. The orchestra will be conducted by Arthur Pranno, a professor from Southern Florida College. The opportunity to work with someone who works as a professional university musician is a highlight for many students. However, this ensures that the rehearsals will be demanding. The four Brunswick students are not even fazed by the possibility of eight hour practices. For them, music is not just a hobby. It is a passion that opens possibilities for the future.
Logan Whitcomb has been playing double bass for four years, and he intends to make a career out of it. Candice Wroten also chimes in, “This is something I really want to do; there is nothing else I’d want to do more!” She has been playing violin for six years.
The Regional Orchestra opens many doors for students, because it can lead to an opportunity to perform in the Ohio All State Orchestra—the highest honor OMEA offers. The audition for the regional orchestra doubles as an audition for the All State Orchestra.
“After you make it into this orchestra, you can be picked to perform in the state youth orchestra,” says Whitcomb. “I’m hoping that eventually I can make it into All State!”
Not only is the orchestra an honor bestowed on the most talented young musicians, but it is a fun environment where these musicians can enjoy themselves.
“They enjoy the opportunity to meet other high quality players, and to network with young people like them,” explains Roman.
“I keep returning to the orchestra,” says O’Connor. “It is really fun.”
Valerie Roman could not stop expressing her pride for these talented students, and listening to them makes it plain to see why she is so proud. “They are all leaders in the Brunswick High School Orchestra. Kevin O’Connor is our concert master, and the others are all seated at the fronts of their sections (which signifies a high skill level). They work with private teachers as well as myself and are constantly striving to find more opportunities to improve their playing abilities. They are a fabulous group of students, and I’m pleased to be able to work with them.”
The concert is on the fourth of November, and will be held at Cleveland State University at 3 p.m.
Nicole Rhoades, an eleventh-grader at Brunswick High School, is one of over thirty “backpack journalists” in the award-winning Brunswick Schools Video Program. The Program is sponsored by RPM, Plum Creek Assisted Living Community, Medina Hospital and Lorain County Community College/University of Akron at Midpoint Campus.