Tuning towards the 2019-2020 orchestral season

Director Richard Helsley prepares young string players for upcoming events


Virginia Price

Wyatt Sedlak warms up on his violin during second period orchestra.

Virginia Price, Staff Writer

 There is no escaping the sounds of Richard Helsley telling his students to practice their instruments every night when they get home . Or the ringing of out-of-tune string instruments through your ears. Helsley, teacher of the Smithson Valley Orchestra program, claims that this school year will be a unifying one with lots of social events and bonding opportunities. The orchestra program will participate in events such as the Comal County Fair Parade on Sept. 27, Full Orchestra on March 2, and an end-of-the-year New York trip lasting from March 7-10. One of the main events Helsley is focusing on, though, is the Mid Texas Symphony, which will be held on Feb. 23.

This opportunity allows students to perform alongside professional musicians and work with Mid Texas Symphony conductor Akiko Fujimoto. Performing in the school auditorium with the big leagues is a huge deal for the Orchestra program.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment since the day I was born,” junior violinist Anthony Couvillion said. He has played violin for years now and finally gets to show off his skills as first chair.

There will also be an orchestra concert on Feb. 25. Every student that Helsley teaches this year will perform a number of songs in the school’s auditorium.

“Orchestra helps me relax and calm down after a long stressful day. I look forward to it every time I go to school” freshman violinist Cole Richmond of fifth period said.

Almost every student agrees that they enjoy going to orchestra every single day. The friendships made in Orchestra are like no other and with new students enrolling it will give everyone an opportunity to discover new friendships and create a family-like bond with one another. Though playing an instrument is anything but easy, Helsley makes sure that his students are always caught up with the rest of his class and does not feel left out.

“Orchestra helps me relax and calm down after a long stressful day. I look forward to it every time I go to school,” freshman violinist Cole Richmond said.

Orchestra is not a strict competitive class with a teacher that will slap your wrist with a ruler. Instead, each and every person in the class attempts to make it as fun as possible to relieve the stresses of a school day.

Through it all, Helsley is extremely proud of all his hard working students and cannot wait to see what else this year has in store. “It’s going to be epic” Helsley said.

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