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Maryville High School orchestra students play side-by-side Friday with Knoxville Symphony Orchestra

Maryville High School orchestra students play side-by-side Friday with Knoxville Symphony Orchestra

Maryville High School orchestra students playing side-by-side Friday with Knoxville Symphony Orchestra

April, 14, 2023

Maryville Daily Times

By: Amy Beth Miller


Dedicated Maryville High School musicians have a rare opportunity this week to perform along with members of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra.

The free public concert Friday evening, April 14, at East Maryville Baptist Church is part of the KSO’s Side-by-Side education program, open to just two schools each academic year.

While this is the third time Maryville students have played with KSO, this is their first opportunity since the pandemic began, according to Matt Wilkinson, MHS music teacher.

That means it’s the first time for Maryville seniors to play with KSO, including Mackenzie Pope and Lucy Miller. Both of them began playing musical instruments in fifth grade at Coulter Grove Intermediate School, Mackenzie the cello and Lucy the violin.

Maryville High has a string orchestra class and a band class, but the only time string and wind instruments come together for the MHS Chamber Orchestra is rehearsals before school, at 7:30 a.m. Fridays.

“To show students how professional musicians rehearse, play and perform is very important for the artistic growth of my top high school ensemble,” Wilkinson said. He also noted that most of the KSO members also probably started out in their school orchestras.

The 32 Maryville students had one in-school rehearsal with 26 KSO musicians last week, and Tuesday maestro James Fellenbaum and the KSO musicians were at MHS for an after-school rehearsal.

Maryville’s chamber orchestra members began practicing the three works they are performing this week last September. The program includes Antonin Dvorak’s symphony “From the New World,” “Danzon No. 2” by Aturo Marquez and music from “Lord of the Rings.”

“The students who show up to chamber tend to be the more passionate students, and they’re practicing more, so we’re able to play more difficult music,” explained Mackenzie, who has a music scholarship to Maryville College and plans to play with the symphony there.

Both girls particularly like “Danzon.”

“This isn’t a style we get to play very often,” Lucy said.

“It’s a little jazzy,” Mackenzie said.

“It’s a lot of similar passages that build on each other and develop through the song.”

The students said they appreciate the music program in Maryville City Schools and are looking forward to showing the audience Friday night what they are passionate about.