A new symphony orchestra class is being offered at Smith-Cotton High School, an idea which originated through Director of Orchestras Michael Moellman and Director of Bands Grant Maledy.

On Thursday, Moellman conducted a class at SCHS in which string students along with students of woodwind, brass and percussion were learning three classical selections.

Moellman said string students and band band students who had the availability in their schedules were participating in the new program. He expects the new class to grow. At present, there are 35 students who are participating. 

“We don’t have all of the instruments covered, but a good portion of the non-string parts are being covered,” he noted. “We don’t have any trumpet players yet.

“They sound really nice,” he continued. “So, hopefully some other kids will be able to have the class in their schedule.”

He said the class is being well received.

“This is the first time that we’ve had a mixture of the instruments.,” he said. “So, It’s pretty exciting. I’m so proud of this group.”

On Thursday, the students were learning Haydn’s Symphony No. 104 the last of 12 symphonies known as “The London Symphonies,” along with Franz Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony” and

“Petite Caprice” by Rossini. Moellman said both he and Maledy will be working with the students in the symphony class.

Moellman said he chose the music because it was already available at the school and familiar.

“I wanted to choose classical pieces that are well known in the recognized repertoire,” he explained. “And, Schubert’s ‘Unfinished Symphony’ starts in a minor key.

“Since the concert is in October and fall, to me it sort of has a minor feel to it,” he continued. “It’s also music that we already owned.”

The music was selected years ago by the late Harold Johnston, a former SCHS orchestra director and former Sedalia Symphony Orchestra conductor.

“He chose really great music and we still have it in our file cabinets,” Moellman said. “So, it was readily available, and that’s kind of nice.

“I have a huge amount of respect for him even though I never knew him,” he added. “I want to carry on his tradition.”

When asked how he feels about the new symphony class, Moellman said “lucky.”

“I’m proud of them (the students) and I feel lucky,” he said. “I’m encouraged that that we actually added a class here. Whereas I hear stories that other schools are losing their music programs.

“Our music programs are growing and we have lots of support from our administrators all the way up into the central office,” he continued. “I feel like they are behind us 100%. So, I feel lucky.”

The Smith-Cotton High School Symphony Orchestra will perform at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8 in the Heckart Performing Arts Center. For more information on performances visit the website at https://www.sedalia200.org/Page/1040.

Arts & Entertainment Reporter

Faith Bemiss is a reporter for the Sedalia Democrat, covering general assignment, arts, food and entertainment stories. She can be reached at 660-530-0289.

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