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All County orchestras to perform Friday

By Staff | Jan 26, 2011

The All-County middle and high school orchestra concert with elementary strings will be held at Cape Coral High School on Friday, Jan. 28, for the public.
The concert, which is free, will feature students from seven high schools, five middle schools and three elementary schools that have a strings program in the Lee County School District.
Leigh Byer, secretary of fine arts for the Lee County School District said some of the arts elementary schools have strings programs, where the students learn how to play the violin.
“We try to use them and get them involved,” she said about the fourth and fifth grade students.
She explained that the first step taken in organizing the concert is to calculate the amount of instrumentation they need for a decent size orchestra, which usually has between 50 to 75 students. After the number of instruments is decided she sends out a message to every school in the district to find out how many schools would like to participate in the all-county orchestra concert.
The planning for the January concert, Byer said, began in late November.
The directors will either audition their students or select their top students to participate in the concert. She explained that band directors do this because there is extra music to be learned for the concert that requires more time from the students, which is added to the school load they already have.
The students are provided with the opportunity to rehearse with guest conductors from outside the county.
She explained that bringing in guest conductors provides the students with a brand new experience, due to the extra knowledge they learn from a new conductor.
“They learn so much and they get so much out of it,” Byer said.
This year a conductor from the Sarasota County School District and the Broward County School District were brought in to teach the young musicians new music and performance techniques. She explained that they do not bring in a special conductor for the elementary students.
Byer said that the band directors also reap the benefits of the outside conductors because they too are picking up on new techniques to teach their students.
“It is a win-win for everyone,” she said.
The public is invited to attend the concert Friday night and enjoy the music.
“The arts are very important,” Byer said. “We want everyone in Lee County to fully support the arts.”
The concert will showcase three separate orchestras, one for elementary, middle and high school.
Byer said as far as she knows the All-County orchestra concert has been going on since the 1970’s, due to her participation in the All-County Chorus concert that she took part in while attending Cypress Lake High School.
The concert will begin at 7 p.m. and will run until at least 8:30 p.m. in the auditorium at Cape Coral High School located at 2300 Santa Barbara Blvd.