Woodland High School’s Beaver Band performs as part of Oregon Symphony’s Prelude Concert Series

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The Woodland High School Beaver Band performed for attendees of “The Phantom of the Opera” at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall for one of the Oregon Symphony’s Prelude Concert Series on Saturday, October 21.

The Woodland High School Beaver Band performed as part of the Oregon Symphony's Prelude Concert Series
The Woodland High School Beaver Band performed as part of the Oregon Symphony's Prelude Concert Series

Bryana Steck, Music Teacher for Woodland Public Schools and Director of the Woodland High School Band, lined up the performance after seeing a colleague’s ensemble playing in the concert hall’s lobby during one of her prior visits. “When my friend gave me the contact information for the Oregon Symphony, I got on it right away because I thought our students would love it,” said Steck. “Performing in the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall provided an amazing and thrilling experience for our talented student musicians!”

Woodland’s student band gave a 20-minute concert featuring pieces inspired by the “The Phantom of the Opera” musical performed by the Oregon Symphony that night. “The students performed incredibly well, drawing a large audience into the mezzanine of the grand hall,” explained Steck. “Many of the students were awestruck by the marble columns and crystal chandeliers which caused everyone to have huge smiles on their faces!”

The students wore formal attire and masks in honor of the Oregon Symphony's performance of "The Phantom of the Opera" that night
The students wore formal attire and masks in honor of the Oregon Symphony's performance of "The Phantom of the Opera" that night

Playing in front of professional concert attendees may have shook the students’ nerves at first, however the Woodland band’s performance drew ecstatic applause. “The kids were nervous about playing in such a fancy venue in front of an audience of musical connoisseurs, but the appreciative applause set the entire band at ease,” explained Steck. “We even heard clapping coming from attendees downstairs in the lobby!”

In addition to setting up the Prelude Concert venue, the Oregon Symphony provides all student performers with free tickets to that night’s performance. “We like to provide performers with the venue as well as an invitation to stay for the night’s performance,” explained Monica Hayes, Director of Education and Community Engagement for the Oregon Symphony. “The Prelude Series provides a great opportunity for teachers who want to give their students exposure to concert halls and professional music to perform for larger audiences.”

As part of being selected for the Prelude Concert series, the Oregon Symphony provides all student performers with free tickets to the evening's performance
As part of being selected for the Prelude Concert series, the Oregon Symphony provides all student performers with free tickets to the evening's performance

Woodland’s students loved watching the Oregon Symphony perform, a well-timed event with Halloween around the corner. “What an experience we all had watching the symphony!” exclaimed Steck. “At intermission, the symphony shambled to their seats dressed up as a Phantom Orchestra and the kids just loved it!”

The Oregon Symphony arranges 50 Prelude Series Concerts each season. “The Prelude Series provides excellent opportunities for the Oregon Symphony to support student musicians and community musical groups from around Oregon and Washington,” said Hayes. “In addition to schools, we’ve had community members ranging from three-year-old cellists to 80-year-old flautists perform along with thematic concerts with musicians selecting pieces specifically chosen for the holiday around their scheduled performance.”

The Oregon Symphony schedules 50 different concerts for its Prelude Series each season to engage schools and communities in Oregon and Washington
The Oregon Symphony schedules 50 different concerts for its Prelude Series each season to engage schools and communities in Oregon and Washington

In order to provide the needed help to organize the night of the event, community volunteers called “Prelude Ambassadors” help fill the needed positions including ushers, ticket-takers, and other responsibilities. “Engaging with our community and our volunteers is my favorite part of organizing these concerts along with meeting the variety of students and musicians who come here to perform,” said Hayes. “Developing these relationships with schools and our surrounding communities has been a fantastic experience, and, of course, the music is really cool, too!”

For more information on the Oregon Symphony including upcoming concerts and performances, visit their website at www.orsymphony.org.

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