LOHS Symphony Orchestra plays in Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall lobby

Beneath the grand reliefs on the ceiling and atop the fine carpet of the mezzanine balcony of the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 12 students from LOHS’s symphony orchestra played on Sunday, Dec. 8. They played two pieces from their fall concert lineup: George Gershwin’s “Lullaby and “Concerto Grosso IV by Arcangello Corelli.

Many students were excited for the rare experience. Ava Hilden, a sophomore, said she felt “grateful and excited. It’s not every day you get to go somewhere fancy and pristine and get to play there. It will always be fun.” Many were excited to play for an audience beyond their parents and improve their performing skills. “It’s a really great opportunity to practice performing because it’s a completely different environment,” said sophomore Jamie Liu. “It’s really shocking to play in a place that’s not our school,” junior Alexandra Stearns added.

While not all of them are planning careers in music, they describe it as a hobby they are passionate about. “I love playing classical music because I grew up on classical music. When I play, it gives me a soaring feeling in my chest,” said junior Ellie Tanimura.

Some students in the orchestra have been playing for four or five years; many started in fourth grade with the LOSD strings program, and one or two students have even been playing since age three. Senior Jamie Kojiro described the orchestra’s camaraderie: “this is a really good group. It’s fun to play in a smaller group, but it’s also more pressure…  It can be a bit intimidating… but it’s also fun and rewarding… Playing in the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall with small group of musicians is a rare opportunity.”

After the orchestra had set up on the lobby balcony, orchestra teacher Eri Nogueira greeted the quickly forming crowd, and the orchestra began to play. The circle of onlookers began to grow, and a crowd began to grow on the upper balcony above as well.

Afterwards, students packed up their instruments and went into the main concert hall to watch the Oregon Symphony play. “I made a lot of mistakes but still lots of people came up to us and complimented us [or] asked what the piece was… It was nice to hear that people genuinely enjoyed listening to us play,” said Kojiro. “I felt honored that [the symphony] would allow a high school orchestra to play. I think I gained experience with playing in a smaller group since I could listen to everyone much more clearly,” said Stearns. She also added that playing for an audience other than her parents felt like a “step forward.”