KSO, HVA Orchestra team up for Side-by-Side Concert

Hardin Valley Academy Or-chestra members had an opportunity to perform beside Knoxville Symphony Orchestra musicians in a concert.

The Side-by-Side concert, dir-ected by James Fellenbaum, KSO resident conductor, took place at Hardin Valley Academy Thursday, April 28. It was part of KSO’s Education and Community Partnership Program to give students a chance to learn from professionals, Jennifer Howell, KSO director of Education and Community Partnerships, said.

“We try to work with every high school in the region that has an orchestra program, so we rotate every two to three years,” Howell said. “We started in 2007 with the Side-by-Side program.

“This is the second time we worked with HVA. The first time was in 2013.”

“We do this every year with a couple of high schools,” Fellen-baum said.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for students to play side by side with fantastic musicians and to play a part in a concert of great orchestral music.

“It’s been great to work with the students of Hardin Valley Academy, and I can tell they have really relished the opportunity to work with us,” he said.

“The students get to sit by these individual musicians and learn real difficult pieces,” Peggy Jones, KSO Orchestra director, said.

“It’s really inspiring to, one day, be in [KSO members’] spot,” Karley Makin, a HVA Orchestra member and senior, said. “They are our role models.”

Makin has been in the orchestra since she was in the sixth grade.

“One day I decided I wanted to do it as a serious hobby,” she said. “I found a teacher, a student at UT, and she helped me.”

“It’s really cool because I get to see the pros play and analyze what they are doing differently from normal procedure,” Dakota Johnson, HVA Orchestra member, said about the Side-by-Side program.

“I am in heaven with playing with the symphony,” Savannah Truan, a HVA freshman orchestra member, said about the experience with KSO. “I feel like it’s easier to draw the interpretive elements from the music.”

KSO members also said the experience was fun for them.

“I got to meet a lot of the young people in the community and see what kind of young string players there are out there,” Mary Pulgar, KSO violinist, said.

Steve Benne, KSO principal bass player, said the partnership between KSO and HVA was part of an educational outreach program.

“I came over here on my own to work with the bass kids to help with their professional perspective on playing,” Benne said.

“I have some technique [tips] I could give them from my experience. I really enjoy teaching.

“[Peggy Jones] has a couple different bass sections of kids that are very accomplished and enthusiastic, and that’s exciting from my perspective,” he said.