Orchestras prepare to head to North this week for String Extravaganza Concert

Ian Foy' 21, Staff Writer

South teacher James Gross prepares his students for the upcoming String Extravaganza at an after school practice. Photo by Ian Foy ’21

The Orchestra’s String Extravaganza concert is Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. This year, they have planned quite a bit.

Each year, a string extravaganza takes place in which the North and South Orchestra combine to perform various pieces of music at Grosse Pointe North High School. The musicians and conductors have now been preparing for a total of three weeks, according to orchestra conductor and teacher James Gross.

First chair of the violins in Symphony Orchestra Anna Jarboe ’19 is expecting big things this year for her last extravaganza. She thinks the straightforward music choice will allow for great things to happen.

“The Christmas music our conductor has chosen is a bit easier than our typical concert program, but that allows us to really work on the technique, beauty and spirit of the string extravaganza music,” Jarboe said.

Another person who is excited for this concert is Gross.

“I’m expecting over 500 string players from grades five through twelve performing together for this event,” Gross said.

Although Jarboe said the music choice may be a little bit easier than the regular concert pieces, she also said that playing with such a large group can be challenging.

“It’s a lot of fun to join with North’s orchestra and play as one big group, but having so many orchestra members play together, it’s difficult to make sure we’re all in time with each other,” Jarboe said, “Though this obstacle seems intimidating at first, with the help of Mr. Gross, Mr. Zogas, and the talent of all the musicians combined in the orchestra, we’re quickly able to overcome that hurdle.”

The musicians playing in the concert range from fifth to twelfth grade. First chair cello in the symphony orchestra Kate Beardslee ‘21 is excited about this.

“It’s always fun to see the wide range of players and how much you improve from each grade,” Beardslee said.

Jarboe also loves to play with some of the younger musicians. However, she said they can cause a small amount of nervousness.

“For me personally, I’m always worried that if I mess up, I will be letting myself and the audience down,” Jarboe said.  “I do notice that I make more mistakes when I’m nervous as I’m sure most people do, especially at this concert when there are so many younger kids looking up to our orchestra.”