New orchestra teacher strikes a chord with students


Emily Price

Mrs. Cynthia Wright directs her new orchestra one day during class.

Madison Chan, Staff Writer

As the 2013-14 school year drew to a close, a crestfallen orchestra said farewell to their much-loved orchestra teacher, Ms. Katie Middleton. However, the orchestra has found a fresh start with Mrs. Cynthia Wright, and is more excited than ever to dive into the music.

This certainly isn’t Mrs. Wright’s first experience teaching orchestra, but this year marks her first at Bearden. She has both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in music from UT. She has taught at Farragut Intermediate, Karns High School, West Valley Middle School, and has most recently taught middle school orchestra in Wilmington, N.C.

Not only does Mrs. Wright have an impressive teaching career, but she’s also skilled when it comes to actually playing the instruments. She has played the violin since she was 5, took private lessons starting in kindergarten, and did her entire master’s program on viola. This is music to the ears of the upper string players in orchestra.

Previous Bearden orchestra directors specialized in the cello and bass, the lower voices of the orchestra. The violins and violas have been anxiously awaiting their own opportunity to learn from someone who shares their primary instrument; now, they have their chance, and they’ll show off what they’ve learned in the first concert of the year on Oct. 9.

Mrs. Wright says the previous directors’ work with the cellos and basses “shows here in the strength of the low strings, they’re amazing,” but that she’s very excited to be able to give the upper strings more “individualized attention”.

“Now violins and violas are going to have a chance to see how a professional would teach them in their standing,” junior violist Ben Rappoport said.

Many students were distraught with the loss of Ms. Middleton, who had been with a number of the students since 6th grade. Mrs. Wright admitted that she had felt a little nervous about coming in and having to fill Ms. Middleton’s shoes.

“But I wanted them to know that I care about them and the program, and I think they’ve been very accepting of me so far,” Mrs. Wright said.

Allison Campbell, a sophomore violinist, said she likes the fact that Mrs. Wright is strict, but, as she put it, “in the most awesome way possible.”

“She definitely wants to help everyone improve, and she’s really sweet,” Campbell said.

Through previous contact with Ms. Middleton, Mrs. Wright knew Bearden was a great school with a great musical program.

“I knew I wanted to continue to teach orchestra, so it was just the perfect opportunity,” Mrs.Wright said.

Although one symphony ended when Ms. Middleton left the stage, Mrs. Wright has picked up her baton and is ready to begin another.