MHS Orchestra goes on tour with Kansas Wesleyan

Sophia Comas, Sports Editor

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Spending an extended amount of time with classmates on a cramped bus isn’t the ideal picture of fun, but for the Manhattan High Chamber Orchestra, it was perfect.

Traveling with Kansas Wesleyan University to join them on a tour of various locations in Kansas proved exciting, showing the group new playing environments along with a sense of freedom not found within class.

“I loved it. It was a fantastic tour,” Nate McClendon, director, said. “[It] was really good because being here in Manhattan, there’s nothing else here except for us so we don’t get to see anything else. It’s important for us to go out and see other things.”

The group began the tour last Thursday with a combined rehearsal with Kansas Wesleyan and their director Dr. Jesse Henkenseifken, who also made appearances at MHS last week for additional practices. They then continued throughout the weekend with various concerts and performances, which they think will contribute greatly to their progress.

“I think we learned a lot about ourselves,” Grace Hart, junior, said. “I think we know what direction we need to go in now and how to get there.”

The tour presented students with an opportunity to get to know each other better, one that many took advantage of.

“I think it went really well. I did make a lot of new friends in orchestra,” Elisabeth Efken, junior, said. “We all just like connected together. That was the highlight of my weekend.”

While the tour presented itself as a golden opportunity for positive experiences, there were some setbacks that caused some issues.

According to McClendon, who claims to have never felt rage in four and a half years, was reintroduced to that “way of life” by his students.

“The trip offered some growing opportunities… it gave me the opportunity to address some things that we need to correct as musicians and as student musicians in the way we approach what we do, not just musically but just the way we act,” McClendon said. “It gave me the chance to express some things on how we can move to that next level, not only musically but just personally.”

Along with the new-found rage, the orchestra had to also combat low productivity within a college setting, something they hadn’t been exposed to much.

“There were difficulties in the music where not everyone was as committed to practicing,” Hart said. “Just focusing was kind of an issue for everybody. Punctuality was not our strong suit.”

Despite their minor problems involving work ethic, the orchestra made the best of the tour, recognizing it for the amazing opportunity that it was, especially in the aspect of their futures.

“It was definitely a good experience like college wise,” Efken said. “It’s kind of like a next step to our ultimate goal of just being the best orchestra we can be.”


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