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Widefield High School gets full orchestra program back


Last updated 11/9/2021 at 5:28pm | View PDF

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Widefield High School Full Orchestra Director Sara Miller talks to the audience before one of the full orchestra's first performances this year.

Widefield High School has returned to having a full orchestra for the first time in six years. Organized by WHS Orchestra Director Sara Miller and WHS Director of Bands Nick Loafman, this is the first time that the school has had a full orchestra since the 2015 school year.

"Full orchestra combines band and strings together, which gives students an opportunity to work collaboratively across the two genres," Miller explained. "Being part of this group allows students to work on higher level ensemble skills of blending and balance and musicianship. It is also a great way to get students excited about different types of music."

These details mean that a full orchestra requires lots of time from students and organizers, which is why the program stopped for several years.

"It was a big time commitment for students since we rehearsed after school," Miller explained. "We also had a few changes in our staff and the focus for the band program went in a different direction."

This year, class schedules are set up so that band and orchestra meet in the same period, which allows full orchestra to rehearse 1-2 times a week in school. Miller also credits the new WHS band director, Nick Loafman, with helping get full orchestra back.

"It is really exciting that we are able to put this group together," Miller said. "I am enjoying working with my colleague Nick Loafman on this collaboration. It is great to have a team that is willing to put this ensemble together and support students with new experiences."

Getting full orchestra back was particularly special after the music program's challenges in 2020. COVID presented huge problems for any performance-based program, especially ones requiring group practice.

"The biggest challenge in 2020 was not being able to rehearse or play as a big group," Miller said. "We were very restricted in how we could have class and have students play. This year we are looking forward to gaining our full rehearsals and making great music together. We are also looking forward to showing off our amazing talented musicians."

The challenges have led Miller and her team to give it their all.

"My hope is that this year we get kids and the community excited again about music and performance," she said. "Our goal is to make this year about community and bring the excitement back to ensemble playing.  The last two years have been really tough with COVID and students not being able to rehearse together. Our hope is to give students something to look forward to and get excited about." 

The WHS full orchestra will perform 7 p.m. on Dec. 8 in the WHS auditorium, the second night of WHS Winterfest. Find out more details at or contact Miller ([email protected])


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