Webster Groves HS Performs at MMEA – 1/26/23

Sonora and her classmates in the Statesman String Ensemble were selected to perform at the Missouri Music Educators Association conference. This multi-day event was held at Lake of the Ozarks. I had the opportunity to go along as a chaperone and photographer.

The day started off with a long bus ride. Thankfully we were on a coach rather than a yellow school bus! The kids were chatting, playing games, listening to music, and being surprisingly well-behaved considering how excited they were.

Once we were at the venue, the kids and their gear were herded into their corral (seriously, each school group had about a 15′ by 25′ area to stow their instruments and hang out). I think our group was quite a bit larger than most, being a full orchestra rather than a 10-15 person group like many of the others. Regardless, we took quite a bit of overflow space.

After demolishing the boxed lunches from Panera, there was still time before the warm up and concert, so the kids do what kids to best – create games using what they have available. Sonora and a bunch of friends were playing some kind of clapping game. And a few of the guys fell back on the old faithful sport of bottle flipping.

After a while, the group was able to go into a warm-up space to practice one last time before their big performance. Their teacher, Mr. Pulliam, gave them several notes on tempo and placing emphasis in certain parts of the pieces they would perform.

While they sounded very good in the practice, when they went up on stage, they were amazing! I know I’m not a trained musician, but their performance sounded on-par with some of the professional orchestras I’ve heard. And this isn’t just coming from a proud parent – they received many compliments afterward from the other music teachers and vendors who were in attendance. Oh, didn’t I mention? There were about 200 people in the audience and only about 20 of them were affiliated with the school. And they gave an enthusiastic standing ovation at the end!

We weren’t allowed to photograph or record them during the concert, but we did purchase the audio of their performance. We hope you’ll have a listen!

Danelle Haake