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By Peter Kougias
Hometown Weekly Correspondent
The Walpole High parking lot was packed with families, friends, and children excitedly entering the building for the Winter Orchestra Concert. The auditorium roared with banter and cheer from audience members anxiously waiting for the show to start. The lights dimmed and the room became silent.
Music teacher Kent Gable introduced the students and declared how proud he was of their hard work. He believes the performance introduces new skills to the students, while also educating them about the music itself. Gable was excited to share the tremendous work the students had accomplished.
The opening act was the sixth grade orchestra. The students smiled at the audience and rested in their seats. Soon, they arched their backs and began to play. The sixth graders performed delightful pieces such as “Down The D Scale.” “The Clown,” and “The Rooster.” The orchestra was joined by Kimberly Testa, a new music teacher who has been with the program for only two weeks. “I am so happy to be working with middle schoolers,” she said, adding how excited she is about the upcoming year.
Up next was the 7th grade orchestra performing a medley from the classic film, “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.” The students gracefully played favorites such as “Pure Imagination,” “Oompa Loompa,” and the unforgettable hit, “The Candy Man.” Friends and family hummed along to the amusing score.
The night ended with the high school orchestra performing “Millennium” by Richard Meyer. The high school students were proud to see the middle school orchestra perform. Seniors Greg Bond and Daniel Mullen depicted the high school orchestra as being “role models,” hopefully inspiring the middle school students to continue on their musical adventure.
The night ended with the students embraced by thunderous applause.
The arts are often brushed aside in school communities. This was a moment of realization of how crucial the arts are for students’ intellectual development. Padraic Curran, Walpole High senior, acknowledge the importance of the performance, stating: “The orchestra should be focused on, because it is the least equipped.”
As the students and families filed out of the auditorium, smiles shined on their faces. The enjoyment alone should be enough for the performing arts to be appreciated in education.