A Day in the Life of Sahuaro’s Orchestra Classes


Alex Herman, Reporter

There’s so much more that goes into playing an instrument, but to be a part of Sahuaro’s Orchestra, you also have to be dedicated and determined to give your time to the community.

Mr. Marrs (the orchestra teacher) starts his classes off by having the students tune their instruments. If they don’t know how to, they then usually wait until Mr. Marrs or another student is available to help them out. Not knowing how to tune your instrument is pretty common for some of the orchestra students, but when you become more advanced it is expected of you to know how to do it yourself. After tuning, the classes begin playing scales that Marrs instructs. Scales help students develop a good sense of rhythm, articulation, and speed. They then begin playing their pieces given by Mr. Marrs.

Orchestra class tuning

The pieces that the classes play are usually based on the class as a whole and their performing ability. Like for the beginners’ class, he starts off with easier music for the students to play such as “Gauntlet” or “Fire In The Bow.” But over time he starts to give more challenging music like “A Quiet Music.” When finished rehearsing the pieces in class, that’s when everyone starts to pack up five minutes before the bell and some students will ask Marrs for help on a certain section or notes after class.

Orchestra rehearsing their pieces

The Chamber Orchestra’s vice presidents, Isabella Hoy and Hannah Sawyer expressed how they would encourage those who played orchestra in middle school but have given up pursuing it and hang out with Mr. Marrs once a week or so to get that help they might need. They would also encourage orchestra students to practice because it really helps you to push yourself and helps you recognize that. As Hannah stated, “It’s not necessarily just playing your piece…sometimes I just forget and I just play through a piece so it’s super important to recognize what you need to work on.”

Overall Marrs would describe orchestra “as a family.” All the students who are really excited about getting better on their instruments and who are working towards the same goal make Mr. Marrs feel “very lucky.” Marr’s expectations for all his students are “to take rehearsing seriously, they’re not talking, they aren’t playing when they’re not supposed to, they’re paying attention in class and that they’re using their brain and transferring that into the physics of their right hand (which makes sound) and their left hand that decides pitches.” So whether it is ten minutes or half an hour a day, practicing helps better the goals these students strive to accomplish in class. The students who go home and practice usually progress at playing the notes or rhythms they had trouble playing before.

Their first concert they’re having this year is on Thursday, September 12th at 7 pm. The next upcoming concert will be Thursday, October 24th at 6:30 pm in the auditorium. So come out to watch and support the Sahuaro Orchestra Concerts!