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The 2012 fall semester started off on a stunning note. Over 200 students participated in the seventh year tradition of the area-wide String Orchestra Concert on Saturday, September 15, at Seeger Chapel.  The concert began with opening introductions by Milligan orchestra director, Kellie Brown.  The instrumentalists included students from Dobyns-Bennett High School Orchestra, Milligan College Orchestra, and Science Hill High School Orchestra.

Conductor Scott D. Laird led the orchestra in a well rounded selection of pieces including a beautiful ballad of Civil War songs known as Point Lookout by Brian Balmages.  The student orchestra skillfully recreated Delibes’ Prizzicati from the ballet Sylvia, arranged by Stroud. This piece transitioned the atmosphere to a light hearted tune that livened the mood for the pieces to come–a series of tunes from Robert Longfield’s “The Magical World of Pixar.” The audience enjoyed this segment as they heard tunes from the films Finding Nemo, Cars, Up, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and the loved classic, Toy Story. Everyone smiled and I seem to recall some humming from the people around me. Lush harmony filled everyone’s ears in the finale, Vanishing Pointe by Richard Meyer.

The crowd of family, friends, and members of the local community who came out for this spectacular event gave fervent applause and praise to the conductor and orchestra for their magnificent performance. The students enjoyed the concert as well. When a senior and member of the Milligan College Orchestra, Dillon Whittington, was asked how he thought the concert went, he responded by saying that there was some room for improvement, but “All in all, things went well and I’ve always loved playing in that concert.” It also was a great learning opportunity for him as a music educator to “see the teacher’s different methods of dealing with almost two hundred high school students.”

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