Greenville Symphony Orchestra to perform at Michigan Music Conference


By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 12:05 pm on Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Greenville High School Symphony Orchestra practices on Wednesday for the 2012 Michigan Music Conference. — Daily News/Kelli Ameling

GREENVILLE — The Greenville High School Symphony Orchestra is one of 14 student groups to perform before a statewide audience of music professionals during the 2012 Michigan Music Conference.

Of the 14 performers, eight ensembles and bands are selected each year to perform at the state music convention. Greenville High School band and orchestra director Susan Gould said the selection process to perform is “incredibly selective.”

“I was very proud of the students,” she said.

The Greenville High School orchestra’s performance will take place at 2 p.m. Jan. 20 at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. The audience could include up to 2,000 people, including music teachers and directors from across Michigan.

Greenville Board of Education President Janet Ralph said the conference is an opportunity for the students to perform for such a large audience filled with skilled musicians.

“It is a great honor for our orchestra to be invited to perform at this,” Ralph said.

The students are very excited and nervous about the performance, Gould said.

“Most of the audience would be conductors who really know quality music and tend to be very critical of other’s performances,” she said.

Bass players Sam Moss, left, Jesse Norman, center, and Brett Hostetler practice on Wednesday for the 2012 Michigan Music Conference. — Daily News/Kelli Ameling

Gould wants the students to push themselves to prepare their very best performance for the convention.

“I also want them to have the memories in the future that their ensemble and their school was selected for such a high honor,” Gould said. “The feelings of validation and pride students have from these kinds of experiences cannot be replicated.”

The Greenville orchestra will preview its music conference program at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 10 at the Greenville High School Performing Arts Center. The concert is free and open to the public.

Before the preview performance, the students will have a two-hour workshop with John Varineau, associate conductor of the Grand Rapids Symphony, to give the students more inspiration.

Varineau’s visit is part of a series of preparations during the school year for the music conference.
Students also have learned from a guest artist, sectionals and after-school rehearsals.

“Actually performing for the conference will be one aspect — and a thrilling one for them — while the music selection and preparation has given our students a completely different perspective on what it takes to create an artistic performance at this level,” Gould said.

Senior Amber Brashier-Fromage, who plays cello, is very excited to perform during the conference.

“Personally, I hope to learn about performing physically and emotionally,” Brashier-Fromage said.

She added that practicing for the conference has brought the students a lot closer.

Ralph said this experience will broaden the students’ horizons.

“Opportunities like this build confidence in students,” Ralph said. “They will practice skills such as problem solving, agility and adaptability that many experts agree are essential in the 21st century.”

If you go…

Michigan Music Conference performance
What: The Greenville High School Symphony Orchestra is performing before a statewide audience of music professionals during the annual Michigan Music Conference.
When: 2 p.m. Jan. 20.
Where: DeVos Place convention center in Grand Rapids.
Tickets: $10 available at the conference. Everyone is invited. Family and friends are invited to ride a school bus to and from the music conference for $3.

Preview performance
What: The Greenville High School Symphony Orchestra will perform its Michigan Music Conference  program for the community.
When: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 10.
Where: Greenville High School Performing Arts Center.
Admission: Free and open to everyone.

More information: Contact Susan Gould at (616) 225-1000 ext. 8245 or goulds@greenville.k12.mi.us.

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