A Student Orchestra, Where the Players Decide What to Play
From voaspecialenglish.com | facebook.com/voalearningenglish Matthew Martz has always loved music. Matt was a high school student when he formed the Student Symphonic Orchestra of Fairfax. It began with 12 friends from school. One of them was Michelle Bui. MICHELLE BUI: "Matt is one of my very good friends. So I did it as a friend, but also because I love playing the violin." Michelle likes the orchestra because its members choose the music they will play. MICHELLE BUI: "We've played some pop music. We're playing 'Phantom of the Opera.' We're playing John Williams, who is a famous composer who did 'Indiana Jones' and 'Star Wars' and 'Superman,' in addition to the classical music." Lizzie Culbertston plays French horn. LIZZIE CULBERTSON: "It has a really, really versatile sound, first of all. I can do so many things with it. It can be really pretty or it can be really angry. It can go higher or lower." The Student Symphonic Orchestra now has more than 30 members, including Nicholas Black. He likes the group because its music is more difficult than what he plays for his school orchestra. NICHOLAS BLACK: "The music here is much more complicated, it's a lot harder. But I think it's partly because it's also with woodwinds and brass, and basically with a band. At school, we do just strings. We don't have a complete orchestra or anything." Thirteen year old Kanika Sahi is the youngest member. KANAKA SAHI: "They just show me how to read better, different techniques of playing, stuff like that." Matt Martz says having musicians of different ages and abilities is not a problem. MATT MARTZ: "If there is a player who hasn't been playing for very long, I try to keep them next to the section player, you know, or leader as we call it, that has been playing a while so they can always ask a question and say, 'Hey, I don't know what that means.'" Matt is now in college, where he studies music. But he returns to the Washington area and works with the orchestra every weekend. MATT MARTZ: "This experience is teaching me how to, more or less, teach teenagers. How to say, you know, okay we're having a problem with this section, let's clap it, let's sing it." The orchestra is a not-for-profit group. Any donations pay for things like sheet music. MATT MARTZ: "Our first concert, we made $1,100, which was fantastic. That helped pay for a lot of music that we had purchased. And then this last concert in January, we made over $1,500, which is just incredible." Matt Martz says he hopes the orchestra will continue to grow and present a wider mix of music. I'm Mario Ritter.