The East Lansing Orchestra Program is part of the East Lansing Public Schools and has been in existence for over sixty years. The program was started by Richard H. Snook. He taught from 1951-1958. After that the program was taught by a fantastic educator, Gerald L. Bartlett. Mr. Bartlett continued to build the program from 1959-1975. Next in line was Dorothy McDonald. Ms. McDonald is an expert educator and musician. Under her leadership and teaching the program continued to expand, give top notch performances in and out of the state, and be recognized by the community and local arts organizations. Mrs. McDonald taught in East Lansing from 1975 until 2008 leaving a wonderful legacy. She continues to this day to help and support the program!
The program is located in the wonderful City of East Lansing, Michigan, the home of Michigan State University. The primary objective of the program is to provide students the opportunity to perform, create, and learn about music while having fun and building friendships. The program currently serves over 250 students in grades 6-12.
Students begin in 6th grade and receive instruction five times a week. This fundamental instruction continues throughout the 6th grade year. The 6th orchestras perform 3-4 concerts a year. After entering MacDonald Middle School, the 7th and 8th grade orchestras meet separately five days a week. The middle school orchestras perform 4-5 concerts a year including the Michigan School Band and Orchestra (MSBOA) district and state festivals. Seventh and eighth grade students are eligible and encouraged to participate in the MSBOA Solo and Ensemble festival. At times, the 8th grade orchestra students will join with 8th grade band members to create a true full orchestra experience!
The High School Orchestra Department offers several ensembles in which the students may participate. The Concert Orchestra is an entry-level orchestra for freshman and sophomore students. The Symphonic Orchestra is an upper-level orchestra for sophomore, junior, and senior students. The Symphonic Orchestra also provides a full orchestra experience by combining with the Symphonic Winds and Percussion class. Encore Strings is an audition-only chamber ensemble for students seeking to enhance their orchestra experience. Students in the high school orchestra program will perform between 6-12 concerts a year including: MSBOA Festivals, Collage, Senior Solo, Baccalaureate, Pit Orchestra, and other community performances.
The Encore Strings were selected to perform at the Michigan Music Conference in 2014 and 2019. They have also had the opportunity to perform with CDZA and NS Designs artist, and Time for Three violinist Charles Yang; MSU Professor Walter Verdehr; Michigan jazz greats Terry Lower and Edye Evans Hyde; and The Piano Guys.
Recently the entire orchestra program has had the opportunity to perform with US National Scottish Fiddle Champion, Meredith Hopkins and an Electrify Your Strings concert with Mark Wood!
Furthermore, students in the program will have the opportunity to travel with the orchestra. Recent trip destinations include; Washington D.C., Florida, Chicago, New York, Cleveland, and Toronto.
Mr. David Rosin - 7th-12th grade orchestras
Mrs. Mikaela Vanator - 6th-7th grade orchestras