All Rise

Orchestra ‘rises to occasion’ for combined performance


Aspen Tallent

Director Nate McClendon stands above the freshman orchestra at hey begin their performance. The group performed with both Symphonic and Chamber Orchestra to commemorate their performance season.

Sophia Comas, Online Editor-in-Chief

The Manhattan High orchestras commenced their performance season with a mindset of achieving new growth and unity, combining all three orchestra groups into one space as they worked together for their very first concert.

The Symphonic Orchestra played a piece called “Simple Symphony,” which is notably “not simple” according to director Nate McClendon. 

“The music that we played last night was completely different music,” McClendon said. “They’ve just been learning so much music and just playing at a really high level.”

Along with each group performing together, the concert featured solos from every single group. Between Concert Orchestra, Symphonic Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra, there were multiple soloists: seniors Allen Zhang, Chris Chae and Grace Hart; junior Emily Ward; and sophomore Ava Bahr.

“It felt pretty good,” Ward said. “When I first heard it I was like ‘eh’ and then my mom showed me a recording and I felt a lot better.”

Ward — who performed two solos — and her fellow Symphonic orchestra musicians had never before seen the music for “Simple Symphony.” However, for the Chamber Orchestra, the music was more than familiar. 

According to senior Tanya Singh, playing the same piece with experienced performers in the audience made the concert even better.

“It was a really hype concert,” Singh said. “Because we got to play the third movement in ‘Simple Symphony,’ which Chamber had played a few years back, it was really fun to play.”

This concert comes after Chamber Orchestra performed with Kansas State’s Symphonic Orchestra one week earlier. There, the advanced group established themselves as leaders for the rest of MHS’s musicians. 

“It was really exciting. A week ago, we played Beethoven’s Second Symphony, which is a huge half-hour piece of work,” McClendon said. “That piece alone for high schools is like a whole year’s worth of work and we did that in one quarter.”

Although this was only the first group performance of the year, the group has high hopes for what they’ll achieve next. According to McClendon, the Concert and Symphonic Orchestras impressed on both their leadership skills and their musical accomplishments. 

“Perhaps I’m most excited about [how] I think we’ll see the most growth out of that group this year,” McClendon said. “They rose to the occasion last night.”

The group hopes to reflect that growth through class time practices and future performances. While they plan on continuing their improvement as musicians, they also hope to continue growing closer as an orchestra as they prepare for their next concert on Dec. 14.

“At the beginning of the year, I had a lot of high hopes for this group,” Ward said. “They sounded really good and they made it happen.”

According to McClendon, the music they’re playing is more difficult on purpose. He’s confident in their ability to perform well, which is why all of the groups are being pushed to excel at bigger challenges.

“We’ve worked really hard this year and we’re a lot better than we were when we started,” Ward said. “I think that there’s only up from here.”