Growing BHS orchestra ready for year’s first concert

The Bearden High School orchestra is making final preparations for its upcoming Fall Concert, its first of the year. This year, however, the orchestra is more than double the size that it was only months ago. In 2010-2011, the BHS orchestra consisted of about 25 students. With just one class of freshmen, though, the number has grown to over 50. Orchestra teacher Ms. Katie Middleton attributes the growth to great direction at the middle school level. “There’s a great middle school program at West Valley Middle School, and the teacher over there, Mr. (Dan) Thompson, and I both really work hard to keep the kids involved in orchestra in that transition from middle school to high school,” Ms. Middleton says. There are other theories as to why the orchestra has grown so vastly. “I think it’s just more people becoming aware of the string community and becoming more interested in it and wanting to continue with their musical education,” Senior orchestra member Sara Burklin said. Though many new members have entered the fold, Burklin and orchestra member Erin Murphy agree that this isn’t just a group of acquaintances playing music together. Rather, the ensemble has grown closer as a whole. “We’re more of a family,” Murphy said. “(It’s) kind of close knit. We’re not just random people.” The Fall Concert kicks off a big year for the BHS orchestra that will later include a side-by-side with the Knoxville Symphony and a trip to Italy. “This year is making me more excited than I’ve been before,” Ms. Middleton says. “There’s just a lot of excitement around.” The Fall Concert kicks off at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. It will feature performances of mostly classical pieces. The concert is free and open to the public; students are encouraged to bring friends and family along.