Each year, the Michigan Music Conference offers music educators the chance to attend professional development clinics, listen to respected speakers in their field and network with other teachers. Plus, they have the opportunity to hear performances from some of the top student ensembles in the state.
The Lowell Middle School 8th Grade String Orchestra will be among the student performances highlighted during the 2020 conference. The orchestra is one of nine school ensembles to be featured at the event and the only school string orchestra to be selected.
Select Group of Ensembles Chosen from Across State
To play at the Michigan Music Conference, ensembles must submit an audition tape a year in advance. Joe Oprea, who conducts the orchestra, recognized that last year’s 7th graders were a talented group and decided to submit an audition recording. “I thought, why not?” he says.
More than 30 school ensembles sent in recordings, and the Lowell Middle School 8th Grade String Orchestra – which is made up of last year’s 7th graders – was one of nine school bands and orchestras chosen to perform at the conference. It is also the only string orchestra selected. Other groups include bands from Rockford, Troy and Three Rivers as well as a jazz orchestra from Byron Center.
“I think it’s cool that we were selected out of 33 groups,” says Teige Bredin, a member of the orchestra who has been playing bass for three years.
In addition to the school bands, the Michigan Music Conference features performances by middle school and high school all-state bands, orchestras and choirs. School choir groups will perform as well.
Public Invited to January Performance
The 61 students in the orchestra have been hard at work preparing for the conference which will have them performing at DeVos Performance Hall in downtown Grand Rapids. They will have 45 minutes on stage and have planned works representing different moods and styles.
Moonlight Odyssey is a favorite piece of Abigail McDonald. The 13-year old has played cello in the orchestra for three years. “I like how all the harmonies come together,” she says.
Meanwhile, Teige is a fan of Lullaby to the Moon. However, regardless of which piece the orchestra is playing, he says he loves how the music comes together. “I like how the different pitches of the instruments blend together,” he explains.
You can experience the music for yourself by attending the orchestra’s performance at the Michigan Music Conference next January. Student performances are open to the public, and the Lowell Middle School 8th Grade String Orchestra is one of four groups scheduled to play on Friday, January 17, 2020 from 8-11:45am. The middle school is expected to take the stage at 11am.
“We want lots of people to come see it,” Oprea says.
Tickets can be purchased online through Ticketmaster or one hour prior to the performance at the DeVos Performance Hall Box Office. General Admission tickets are $10 per person while student tickets for those age 11-17 are $5. Those age 10 and younger are admitted for free.
For more information, visit the Michigan Music Conference website.