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Worthington students to perform in Monday orchestra concert

A group of members of the Worthington High School Orchestra pose for a photo Friday afternoon. District 518 orchestra students will perform in a Monday night concert. (RYAN McGAUGHEY/DAILY GLOBE)

WORTHINGTON — A touch of Telemann, a hint of Handel and a drop of Del Borgo are all on the program of Monday night’s fall orchestra festival at Worthington High School (WHS).

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Featuring the 170 student musicians of Worthington Middle School (WMS) and WHS, these District 518 string students will present their first flourishes of the season in a concert that’s sure to share the skills of fifth- through 12th-graders.

“I try to plan both a classical and a contemporary piece for some variety at all levels,” said Melanie Loy, instructor of the sixth- through 12th-grade students.

Joining Loy as a District 518 orchestra instructor this year is Aimon Dwan, who leads the 91 beginning fourth-grade string players at Prairie Elementary (they will perform in a Dec. 11 concert) as well as the 43 fifth-grade orchestra members. The fifth graders will be among this Monday evening’s musical force.

“The fifth-graders are to play four pieces — ‘French Folk Song,’ the ‘Can-Can,’ ‘English Round and ‘Bile ‘Em Cabbage,’” shared Dwan, a recent graduate of the College of Wooster and an accomplished cellist. 

“They’ve come such a long way already, and it’s amazing to see the progress students make from the beginning of fourth grade to the beginning of fifth,” Dwan added. “It’s very exciting to see how much a student can accomplish in that first year.”

Loy will lead her sixth-graders in playing “Celtic Dance” and “La Regouissance,” the latter being an arrangement of a section from Handel’s “Music for the Royal Fireworks.”

The seventh-grade students tackle “Gauntlet” and Del Borgo’s “Sonata Vivant,” while the eighth-grade violinists, violists and cellists will entertain with Telemann’s “Sinfonia” and “Tango Trocadero.”

“With the Worthington Middle School orchestra schedule being different this year, we are pleased to have all our sections working together in preparation for this concert,” said Loy.

Loy’s high school string students have polished Smetana’s “Themes from the Moldau,” Grieg’s “Prelude from the Holberg Suite” and the seasonally appropriate “Waltz of the Wicked.”

“‘Waltz of the Wicked’ is suitable for Halloween, with its haunting melody in A minor, and its use of pizzicato and glissandos on the strings,” Loy explained.

In addition, Loy said the concert will include a special “teacher feature,” with her on violin and Dwan on cello, but the exact nature of their collaboration will be revealed only to concert attendees.

“Aimon has tremendous cello skills,” praised Loy of her new orchestra colleague. 

Both Loy and Dwan participate as musicians in the Worthington Area Symphony Orchestra, and Loy is also part of the Great Plains String Quartet.

“It’s been a pleasure and privilege to work with Aimon as she begins her teaching career here in District 518,” Loy added.

Dwan, who began playing the cello as a fourth-grader and hails from Petoskey, Mich., said. “It’s so exciting to be helping fourth-graders begin on their string instruments here.

“Many of my students are very enthusiastic, and one even told me, ‘I’ve been dreaming of the day I could start the violin,’” Dawn continued. “I’m so happy to be part of a school district that has such a strong music program and so many musical opportunities for its students.”

The WMS/WHS Orchestra Festival, with fifth- through 12th-grade orchestra students performing, takes place at 7 p.m. Monday in the WHS gymnasium, 1211 Clary St. There is an admission fee, and District 518 activity passes will be honored.