Giving truth to Memphis youth
By Breyanah Graham (Ridgeway High School)
On a Saturday in late October, Shelby County Schools’ music students in grades 9-12 and their teachers joined together for an evening of string music. Students from across SCS’ district in a variety of schools consisting of Bolton, Central, Cordova, Craigmont, Douglass, East, Kingsbury, Middle College, Ridgeway, Whitehaven and White Station high schools were featured in the orchestra ensemble held at Central High School.
The students only had three hours to practice together, but this short amount time was not evident in what can be described as an impressive performance. The students performed music that spanned in a wide range of genres, from pop and rock to classical and fiddle. This music selection included crowd favorites like Rolling in the Deep, Hallelujah, Remote Control and Eleanor Rigby. Each of these songs was accompanied by drums, guitars, and bass guitars which gave it a full rock sound.
In addition the orchestra also performed original arrangements by SCS teacher Rick Neal that included Smooth Criminal, The Hand that Feeds, and Blackbird. Each song was led by a different SCS teacher so that there were multiple conductors. Acclaimed SCS string faculty orchestra teachers also were featured and performed the rock songs Shining Star, Crazy Train, and Bohemian Rhapsody.
The event was free and open to the public, and the audience was encouraged to bring canned goods, which were then donated to the Mid-South Food Bank. Many people came out to support the SCS students and left saying that it was a great night and were impressed with the various schools’ skills.
One parent of a cellist, Lee Smith, said, “I was very impressed with the performance and the skills of the students. It was nice to see teens active in a positive thing in Memphis.”