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The Student News Site of Kilgore High School

The Mirror

The Student News Site of Kilgore High School

The Mirror

The Student News Site of Kilgore High School

The Mirror


Dennis Jacobs
Strings in Motion • Orchestra performs at the Dodson Auditorium.

    On April 19, the orchestra performed their fiftieth anniversary concert at the Dodson Auditorium. To commemorate the occasion the students decided to go with the theme, Through the Decades, playing hit songs from throughout the years. Performing “Don’t Stop Believin” by Journey, “Shake it off” by Taylor Swift, and “Yesterday” by the Beetles. In addition to the songs that are already quite well known, the orchestra performed the world premier of the song “Serenade”, written for the orchestra by alumni Jace Mankins.

Sherry Paetznick Wilkins, former orchestra teacher of Mankins and the director of the orchestra, commissioned the piece for the celebration of the anniversary of the orchestra program. The song “Serenade” was inspired by a number of works that Mankins performed during his time in the KHS orchestra. Pieces like the last movement of Corelli’s 8th Concerto Grosso and Sibelius’s Andantino inspired the melodic and harmonic language.

     “Being involved in the orchestra in middle and high school truly shaped my musical journey,” Mankins said. “Aside from becoming a decent cellist, I learned so much about musical forms, genres, and gestures that sparked my passion as a composer. My hope is that this work can express my gratitude to my former teachers and the program that helped me grow as a musician and person.”

Paetznick also invited alumni who had their own instruments to perform in the song “Yesterday”. Several past orchestra directors also were in attendance at the concert, even Pateznick’s own former orchestra teacher Lisa Roberts Tankersley, who ran the orchestra program for 25 years, with many of her students becoming mucicians and orchestra directors.

    “That was a huge highlight of my evening,” Paetznick said. “She started me on my musical journey in the 6th grade at Maude Laird Middle School.”

The previous directors talked about how much they loved orchestra and the program, and told their favorite stories from when they were directors.

“It was interesting to be able to see their faces, learn their names, and find out what they did for
the program during their time as director,” junior Kylee hunter said. “I was honored to be part of such a big celebration of our program and its history.”

The middle school orchestra performed and opened the show with the songs “Medieval King” by Soon Hee Newbold, “The Red Lion” and “Such Sweet sorrow” by Jermey Woolstenhulme, “Epic“ by Larry Clark, and “Intensity” by Sean O’ Louglin. For the closing song “A Festival Rondo” by Richard Meyer both orchestas played together.

The concert showcased the orchestra program and how it has sustained and grown over the last 50 years in numbers and in quality.

“I hope the students took away from this that they are part of something important, that if they give up their instrument, they can always pick it back up, keep improving, and keep sharing their love of music with those around them,” Paetznick said. “Music is for everyone!”

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