Fiddles in fiddle country


Photo courtesy Stacy Davison

Symphonic and Chamber Orchestras with their four trophies at Dollywood.

Mallery Zion, Editor

After school on Thursday, the Chamber and Symphonic Orchestras finished up their packing, and met back up to start the voyage via charter bus to Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

The orchestras’ main purpose of the trip was to compete in the Music in the Parks music festival, which they had been invited back to this year after previous positive participations. Along with competing, the orchestra adventured into multiple other activities that the Smoky Mountains state had to offer.

“The orchestra trip to Tennessee was great. It was my first high school trip and it will sure have a place in my heart for a good time to come. From horseback riding, to screaming my butt off on rollercoasters at Dollywood, it was all a great time,” sophomore Thomas Mitchell said. “Good times with good people: I couldn’t ask for a thing more.”

All year the orchestra worked on their music with anticipation for a break from the monotony of student life. The seniors were especially eager for the big event marking the end of their high school orchestra career.

“I will miss the entertaining rehearsals with the orchestra,” senior Jordan Nichols said. “The trip helped the orchestra relax after a successful group contest, and as a senior I am very satisfied with this last hurrah.”

Both orchestras had a prosperous experience at the festival; at the awards ceremony in Dollywood, Symphonic received the Esprit De Corps award, overall best orchestra and a Superior group rating. Chamber Orchestra also received an Excellent group rating.

“I think it [the festival] impacted the orchestra greatly,” Mitchell said. “We came back to Tonka with four trophies from the competition; It taught us that we really can do anything we set our minds to.”

Arriving home before the sunrise on Monday morning, the students reflected on the unique bonding opportunity the trip presented for them that is not always available during school hours.

“I talked to some of the younger orchestra students that I had never had a conversation with,” senior Jaryn Lasiter said. “I really think it brought everyone together.”