Should There be a Horizon Honors Orchestra?

Horizon Honors has a fairly successful band program. But winds and percussion are not for everyone. Some students may be more interested in the string family, so why not have an orchestra?

The strings deserve a place at Horizon Honors too.

Jason Hollinger

The strings deserve a place at Horizon Honors too.

Noah Thompson, Columnist

Art is a very important subject in school and benefits students in many ways. Horizon Honors has a music program that has seemed to work well, so it might be time to expand. That is why I advocate for our school to add a Horizon Honors Orchestra Program. An orchestra contains violin, viola, cello, and double bass. We already have a successful band and choir program, so why not expand?

According to ClassicalFM, from a social point of view, being in a musical group can help expand your network of friends, and can help you meet people who have the same interests as you. If the school were to add an orchestra program, this positive social effect would expand to even more students than the current 100-plus students in choir and band. ClassicalFM also states that music builds confidence, which makes sense. Essentially, when a student does an audition or a concert, over time it builds up confidence that has profound implications with events like school presentations. 

Music also has a more profound academic benefit and adding an orchestra would only expand this to more students. According to the Scots College, students learn the importance of critique, both complimentary, and constructive, which has huge implications not just in that school year or the next but in college and later into adulthood. Being able to accept this kind of feedback appropriately is a valuable life skill. 

I asked the school’s band teacher, Mr. Greg Adam, what he thought about adding an orchestra. He said that while it would introduce another means for students to express musical creativity, there would also be some tough problems to solve first. One of the biggest issues is scheduling. It would be difficult to incorporate another class into the schedule without terribly affecting all the other classes that an orchestra student would be in, like math, science, etc. Another issue would be space. There would also have to be a room that is often unoccupied and where the extra noise wouldn’t disrupt other students. However, while enough interests in this class may be prevalent, that same interest would have to stay long-term and grow over the course of a couple of years in order to make the class worthwhile for the school. This new program would not just affect students coming from fourth to fifth grade who have the option to join the music program, but also current, older students that already play a string instrument. However, it could possibly take a few years for this program to grow. The initial students enrolled in more advanced orchestras would only be students who already play a string instrument, which is not a lot. But after the initial group of students in fifth grade move up into more advanced groups, middle and high schoolers would gradually begin to fill in.

I also asked Mr. Adam if it would be feasible for there to be a joint performance between the orchestra and the band. While he said this was possible, it would require students to commit out-of-school time to practices, otherwise scheduling conflicts may arise. So band and orchestra probably would not have any joint performances.

If enough students were to show interest in an orchestra program, it is very possible that we may have one in the future. But, at least for now, there doesn’t seem to be enough interest to seriously consider adding a whole new division of the performing arts program at Horizon Honors.