Westside Orchestra Prepares For First Concert Of The School Year

Olivia Villotta
Westside Orchestra’s Concertmaster, junior Virginia Jansen, said she is looking forward to their first performance of the year.

Westside Orchestra is holding their first concert of the school year in the high school’s main auditorium on Monday, Oct. 28. Orchestra Director Lanny Stutheit said he chose music featuring different styles to appeal to all audience members. Junior Virginia Jansen, who serves as the orchestra concertmaster, said that she thinks the orchestra is going to perform well since they are constantly improving their skills.

“I think we’ll do pretty well,” Jansen said. “Last year we lost a lot of really great [orchestra] players from graduating but we [also] gained a lot [of new orchestra players this year].  We’re about a 60 person orchestra which is really great, and we’re getting better every day.”

Junior Sara Loukota, also a member of Westside orchestra, said that the orchestra has had a lot of preparation and said she agrees with Jansen that the concert will go well. 

“I think we prepared a lot for [the concert since] every single class play[ed] the pieces over and over again,” Loukota said. “[Stutheit] stops us and directs us and that’s always nice [to help us improve]. I think we’re all going to do really well.”

Stutheit said that there are characteristics music must have in order for him to choose it, and that his goal is to pick pieces that have different aspects from one another.

“[I look for music that sounds] interesting and [will be] fun to work on [as well as] rewarding to perform,” Stutheit said. “Throughout the year I’m always looking at different pieces of music that will show off the talents of our group. We do baroque classical music, 20th century, jazz styles [and] fiddle tunes to showcase the different things a string instrument can do. That’s a goal, to make a variety [of music and] to make as many different people happy in the concert as possible.”

Orchestra member junior Matthew Salfity said he thinks there is a specific piece that the audience will love. 

“[I think the audience will love] the ‘Brandenburg [Concertos’ piece], because it’s the hardest one we’re playing right now,” Salfity said. “There’s a lot of notes [and] it’s pretty fast.”

Jansen said she thinks the audience will be happy to hear the orchestra pieces they have prepared because of the hard work put into them. 

“I like to think about performing as you giving a gift to the audience because you’ve worked so hard,” Jansen said. “Sometimes you get nervous [and think] ‘what if I’m not good enough?’ [or] ‘what if it sounds bad?’ The audience is there to hear you and they’re happy to hear you no matter what it sounds like.”

Stutheit said he is excited to see how far the orchestra students have come with their musical skills and said that on performance day, they do better than he usually expects. 

“I’m excited to see the progress with [the] students’ [orchestra skills],” Stutheit said. “A lot of the time I have students in my program who have been part of orchestra since they were in elementary school, so it’s really fun to see their progress through [all the years]. They always do even better than I [expected], so I’m looking forward to it.”

The concert will be held in Westside High School’s main auditorium at 7:00 p.m. The concert is free of admission and open to the public.