Junior musician steps up to conduct

The school band and strings departments, unlike professional orchestras, are separated. Two separate teachers, two separate classes and two separate concerts.

Only a couple of Brevard high schools, along with the Brevard Symphony Youth Orchestra, feature both wind instruments and stringed instruments together.

Junior Natalie Brown, who plays clarinet in the Wind Ensemble and in the BSYO, had the idea of bringing the Wind Ensemble and Chamber Orchestra together, for one performance, under her conduction.

“I knew I wanted to conduct this year, so I chose a piece and just did it,” Brown said.

Brown called on the best members of the Wind Ensemble to join her by playing “Postlude in F” by Charles Ives with the Chamber Orchestra.  In a full orchestra setting, the wind and percussion instruments add a nuance to the string sound, but are still just as important as the string instruments.

Senior Nicole Marmol was asked to play flute in Brown’s orchestra, and gladly accepted the challenge.

“I’m really excited,” Marmol said. “We don’t normally have full orchestras, so it provides a new experience for us.”

Though it is a fun experience, Marmol said that playing with strings is different from playing in the Wind Ensemble.

“It seems like I’m soloing,” Marmol said of her role in the orchestra. “There’s nine flutes in band, but only two in orchestra. I feel more alone in orchestra.”

Although full orchestras don’t happen often on campus, it isn’t unprecedented. West Shore alumna D.K. Issitt put together an orchestra last year for his Senior Project.

Brown said she isn’t taking her rare role as conductor lightly.

“I’ve been going over my score, listening to it and playing it on the piano,” Brown said. “I love to conduct though.”

Marmol said she trusts Brown as a conductor, and to assist the orchestra in any way possible.

“I think she’ll be great,” Marmol said. “She practices really hard on her conducting and on the music.”

Even with the pressure of conducting, Brown said she is confident the orchestra will play well on May 15 at their concert at Eau Gallie High School.

“I think we’re going to pull it through,” Brown said. “Even if it doesn’t sound great, I’ll still be proud of what we accomplished.”

By Katie Garwood