The sweet sound of young musicians fills the room while students shuffle around to get their instruments. The solemn cellos play over the deep basses, the perky violas play over the cellos, and above all, you hear the vibrant sound of a violin solo.
Many might remember this as our middle school orchestra room, bringing memories of years ago. However, senior Amelia Tesch has had the opportunity to go back almost every week.
This year, North Middle School has 110 students enrolled in their orchestra program, the largest in NMS orchestra teacher Allison Hoyt’s ten years of teaching. This sudden over-enrollment has prompted assistance from students of the high school program.
“It’s a great problem to have, and I’m so excited to have so many students interested in orchestra,” Hoyt said. “The biggest issues, however, are the lack of space and the lack of focused teaching. We’re trying to work out the kinks, still.”
To combat this over-enrollment epidemic, music department head Debbie Martinez asked her seniors in orchestra if any of them would like to help Hoyt and her sixth-grade students during an off-hour, specifically seventh hour.
“We were thinking it’d be a nice community service project. We also can show the younger kids what’s possible when they get older,” Martinez said.
Tesch and senior Gracie Schweers, both former students at NMS, were more than happy to help. They emailed Hoyt, set up a time to come in, and prepared by looking at some of the pieces the younger students were playing.
“We basically get to help out the kids and do anything else Ms. Hoyt needs. For example, one time the younger kids were learning about scales, and we told them the fingerings, the correct posture, and just helped them overall,” Tesch said.
On a typical day at the middle school, the orchestra begins class with all the sections but then breaks off into groups of specific instruments. During this time, the senior helpers can answer questions and individually help students.
“The students from the high school have been extremely helpful, and I am so grateful for their time and abilities,” Hoyt said.
For Tesch, assisting the sixth graders has become a very fulfilling experience.
“Even though orchestra isn’t a very huge and enormous part of my life, I really love playing and I love the environment of it,” Tesch said.
While she began going to the middle school to help her community, it has become a service that she holds close to her heart.
“I really do hope to make a connection with one of the students,” Tesch said. “ I just want kids to have that chance to continue orchestra and not quit and to play an instrument that they enjoy so much.”